215 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2012
Napolitano's book will offend some and frighten others. Unfortunately what he writes is necessary to know for anyone trying to understand the current state of our government. For those who revere leading progressives like Theodore Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson, this book will be offensive. For those who revere the Constitution and the principles of the founding fathers, the book will be revelatory. Anyone who thinks the Constitution is merely a guideline and who believes that the Constitution should be flexibly interpreted according to current language or beliefs will also be offended. Those who believe the Founders were operating according to John Locke's principles of written law safeguarding society from willful rule by powerful men for their own purposes will find strong arguments that these principles have been broken and are continuing to be broken by powerful progressives. This book is a painful but necessary education - without any sugar-coating - on the current state of the American. government. Libertarians will agree with it. Progressives will hate it
73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
I had high hopes for this book but found it even more interesting and engaging than I thought I would. I have always liked Judge Napolitano, yet have thought some of his earlier writing a bit dry. This one really does a good job focusing on the roots of the Progressive Era, and the two larger than life presidents who embodied it. As he says so clearly in the final chapter;
"Jefferson believed that in the long arc of history, we can see repeated over and over again the struggle for individual freedom against a monopoly of force. The monopoly of force has killed, stolen, lied, and cheated its way into power and wealth. The first two decades of the twentieth-century America - an era arguably dominated by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - are not an exception to Jefferson's conclusion: rather, they are a heightened paradigm of it. In those twenty or so years the role of the federal government changed so radically that it would never be the same again." (pg. 248)
Besides providing fascinating details about these oddly juxtaposed yet soul-mate-like troubled men, I especially liked how Judge N. ties the Constitutional amendments of the time together. The only one that was any good, and worth changing the Constitution for was the 19th (women's vote). All the others have damaged the Constitution beyond recognition, yet are still in place today, except for the short live 18th (alcohol prohibition). I had never before realized how destructive the 17th was (Senators selected by popular vote and not by State appointment), and how fundamental the old arrangement was to the balance of powers established by the original framers.
Before the 16th amendment (legalizing income tax) the federal government got 40% of its revenue from taxes on alcohol. The 16th amendment paved the way for the 18th, and the 17th sealed it by removing the check and balance of the State's representatives, leaving it to the masses to decide (reform minded progressives), with women rewarded with the 19th for being such supporters of Prohibition with their votes at the state level. But we all know Prohibition (which was at the hub of this first push at progressive minded reform) was an utter failure, leading to a bloom in criminalization and a destruction of family values (sound familiar?).
This book provides plenty of clear perspective on the effects of the Progressive Era - from the rise of Crony Capitalist and Union special interests, American military expansion and the draft, to the establishment of the banking cartel we euphemistically know as the Federal Reserve, compulsory education, and racist eugenic practices. I find it incomprehensible that such a movement can have any credibility today (yet many on the left still proudly identify themselves as "progressives"), and that these harmful and unconstitutional policies are now the foundation of the new American Empire.
Judge Napolitano's writing style is direct and simple, even plain, yet never dumbed-down. He gives us the best overview of this pivotal phase of American history I've ever seen, and one that is timely to revisit today. The Progressive Era may have begun over 100 years ago but it isn't over yet...
66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
Judge Napolitano has presented a rigorous and informative study of Constitutional issues that demonstrate how much we have strayed from the founders' principals and how they have taken away our freedoms. Basically, according to the original Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal government should be dealing with the States who ratified the Constitution that gave the federal government certain powers, and the States should be dealing with individual citizens and people.
Starting around 1900, under the Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson administrations, and followed by Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and others, the federal government has been dealing directly with the people on more and more key issues such as the entitlement programs, federal income tax, etc., and the States are being silenced. This has changed the nature of the Federal Republic and the American people are losing their freedoms[...].
I would like to learn what Judge Napolitano can offer as to how to correct the above problems and how we can return to the founders' principals.
217 of 272 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
This book is an important contribution to the historian who would connect the dots from the early Progressive era to today, in figuring out how and why there was a silent revolution by the radical Left to destroy the Constitution and replace it with a Marxist platform. One can well argue that the Marxists captured the White House BEFORE they captured the Kremlin! Wilson and T. Roosevelt implemented radical ideas that were subsequently built upon by almost every administration since. One can see this Red Thread running through the entire fabric of the national government for more than a century now. So many planks of Karl Marx were accomplished by Wildon and Col. Mandel House that historians of the future will be compelled to ask how such a paradigm shift could occur without a guiding hand behind it (and I do not refer to a Divine Hand). It took two world wars to keep the American People diverted away from what amounted to a coup de'etat. Thanks to Judge Napolitano for this expose. Napolitano should be sitting on the Supreme Court. But then, what SHOULD be, rarely is.
63 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
A lot of insight in the book, has open my eyes to a lot I did not know. I have read a lot of History
book and Biography of Presidents but this is so much better, and the Judge makes it easy to understand.
I think ever American who is intrested in this country should read it.
32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2012
It virtually goes without saying that Left-wingers will attack this book. They are innately wed to big, intrusive government, high taxes, and the yoke of freedom-stifling regulations. Mr. Napolitano effectively defends his principled, freedom-prioritized perspective, despite objections from the speciously called "progressive" mind. The book is a cogent warning about the Utopian designs Theodore and Woodrow( and subsequently Franklin, William, and now, especially, Barack) have unleashed upon us..ALL of us! But of particular relevance here is a concern that few who SHOULD read this book, will read it. As the recent election demonstrated, we are now at a demographic precipice; the demographic being those whose vote can be bought by what is gifted (by the government) to them from the efforts of others; largess is a powerful electoral incentive. However, within this group are those who, I believe, could be intellectually converted by the persuasive arguments of the founders, as presented and elaborated upon in Judge Napolitano's book. The hope is that many of them do value the promise of opportunity, freedom, and self-reliance over the illusory promises of an entitlement and dependency-oriented, Utopian fantasy. I encourage doubters to read this book, and then our constitution with an open mind.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
The judge is a man of great character regarding history! He is scholar who refuses to bend, hide or try to twist the truth. He stands firm in reality!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2012
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves history. It's definitely not what you learned in schools, it's much more fascinating.
For those who value liberty, this is a great book explaining how exactly our freedoms have been eroded away and how the two presidents discussed in this book are responsible.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2013
This is my first book by Judge Napolitano. It was interesting, but didn't go into enough depth on the subjects that he discussed. He did mention in the introduction that this was his biased opinion, so that is what I expected and biased it was. If he had gone into more detail, then he could have supported his opinions better. Also, on the historical aspects of the book, there was also a lot to be desired here as well. Again, he only briefly covered these areas and spent more time on opinion. He could have gone into more depth here also. It was interesting the way that he brought the discussion into modern day, remembering these time I felt that he also didn't go into enough detail. It is an interesting read, but don't expect unbiased historical detail, this is not the place for history without bias.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
The greatest value to me was the documentation of the series of Supreme Court decisions that display the tortuous logic to reach an objective used by what should be the final control valve on fidelity to the constitution. When Kilo vs Connecticut went against Ms. Kilo I said "that can't happen in America". Once you read this book you can see how easy that was to decide and how we got to Obamacare recently. A must read for all citizens to understand why we have to watch and call out our elected officials.