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U.S. Constitution For Dummies Paperback – May 18, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0764587801 ISBN-10: 0764587803 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (May 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764587803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764587801
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Michael Arnheim is a practicing British barrister, mediator, and academic, as well as the author of a text on British constitutional law. He consults with various U.S. firms on constitutional issues.

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Customer Reviews

This book is wonderful, the details are quite organized and interesting.
Vicente
We got this book for AP US Government help but it came without the ability to search or an index so I had to go out and buy the hard copy version.
Christine Anderson
This is an excellent book for someone who has not had any schooling in the Constitution.
T. D. Verzwyvelt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Verzwyvelt on June 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for someone who has not had any schooling in the Constitution. I am just an average working man with a high school/tech school education but I do care about the direction our country is headed. This book explains the Constitution and many aspects of how government should operate so that even I can understand it. It is a big help to me to let me know if our elected officials are operating within the Constitution

The author does give his opinion on many of the controversial issues of the past and present but he makes it clear that it is his opinion only. He also gives the possible reasoning behind opposing viewpoints and actions in which he disagrees. It is not simply an ideological one sided book but something anyone could learn a lot from regardless of your political views.

The book does not go to great depth but I don't think you could expect that from a "Dummies" book. Overall, a great book for beginners.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By straightandnarrowfeet on September 7, 2013
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The author covers every article and amendment, and he makes every attempt at explaining concepts like judicial review and enumerated powers in layman's terms. While the book contains sections marked "In My Opinion," which the author gives the reader permission to skip, the reader finds the author's take on various Supreme Court decisions throughout the text. In fact, the book is as much an argument for strict constructionism as it is a comprehensive review of the Constitution. (Justice Antonin Scalia is quoted many times throughout this book. And Ted Cruz wrote the foreward.) The author too often brushes off Living Constitution arguments, calling various 5-4 conservative court decisions "imminently sensible," as though anyone would have reached the same decision, even though four justices took the other side.

As other reviewers have noted, the structure of the book is not as straightforward as one might expect. The author is constantly referring the reader to other sections of the book, and some topics and cases are mentioned several times. At first, I found this frustrating, and I still wonder if another structure might have been more effective. However, the author wants to show how different parts of the Constitution work in tandem to produce the government we've got. For instance, he explains the philosophy of incorporation very well(even though he clearly hates it), but explaining it involves taking amendments out of order and analyzing them side by side. So while he takes the amendments in order, in his discussion of each amendment he includes relevant portions of other amendments.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By JMC on October 11, 2009
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Complete, including entire text of Constitution, understandable, interesting. You'll be less of a dummie after you read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donna on February 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In preparing for a 3 hour class, I downloaded this for a quick review. Imagine my surprise when I found that Ted Cruz had written the forward and praises a Supreme Court decision for "repudiating many years of judicial hostility to expressions of religious faith" discussed in Chapter 14. He belittles Justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan for their belief that the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment and says Arnheim (author) explains why they were wrong. I was expecting a balanced overview of the US Constitution, not the discussion of issues and opinions of individuals. If you are curious about the Tea Party or Ted Cruz, this would be a good read. Will avoid Dummies in the future and stick to Idiots when I need an overview.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Simmons on August 9, 2010
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I've alway's been interested in the Constitution, but because of the language I've always looked for an easier way to better understand it. Some of the words that were used by our Founding Fathers, can be just a little intimidating. As much as I hate to admit it, the U.S. Constitution for Dummies, makes it a breeze. I love it.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie S. Greenberg on July 19, 2010
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I thought that because this is a , "Dummies" Book, it would be easy to follow. I found it to scattered...having each ammendment explained in one block would've been much easier to follow than having every thing chopped up...
I finally gave up....tracking down all the information was frustrating...I learn better with a straight forward format...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christine Anderson on August 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We got this book for AP US Government help but it came without the ability to search or an index so I had to go out and buy the hard copy version. Really? Making an electronic version of a non-fiction book without an index? How much more useless could it be?! They could have written it in ancient Sumerian I guess. That would be more useless. Unless of course they indexed that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Di Colla on February 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
First, I will give the praise that this book is informative and gives correct information. Which should be the main and pretty much sole purpose of the book. But even with that praise...

This book is very biased. Anyone who is familiar with the "For Dummies" books know of the side icons used such as "Warning", "Remember", "Try This" etc. This man puts in an icon "In My Opinion". Of course everyone has an opinion and is entitled to that, but this man should NOT place it in this book. If he wants to express his opinion as an educated expert, write about it in a different book. Even with that, he writes on issues in a biased and opinion based way. It's not hard to tell what this man thinks of politics even if he doesn't spell it out completely.

When I studied political science as an undergraduate I knew I had a good professor when I walked away from a class not knowing their opinion in politics, especially the ones we discussed. I learned more about this man's stance on the constitution than about the constitution itself.

If you are looking for a neutral and informative book, look elsewhere.
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