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The Complete Idiot's Guide to the U.S. Constitution (Idiot's Guides) Paperback – October 2, 2007
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About the Author
Tim Harper is an attorney and professor of journalism at the School of Journalism, Columbia University. His work as appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including Atlantic Monthly, Forbes, Time, Glamour, Seventeen, New York Times, Newsday, Financial Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Denver Post, and Dallas Morning News. He is the author of over a dozen books and anthologies.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Constitution is THE most important document in our history, and sadly, most of us know so little about it. This book remedies that problem. Highly recommended for study. (This book can be read casually as well, but the reader definitely gains a better education with careful study, and not just a cursory reading.
There have been numerous books written about the Constitution. What I've found, however, is that they tend to fall into 2 extremes: they either are basic introductions, not going much beyond the document itself (e.g., The US Constitution for Everyone); or, they are massive tomes that go into so much detail that the reader can be overwhelmed (e.g., The Heritage Guide to the Constitution).
Either of these is fine, if they suit your need, but with The Complete Idiot's Guide to the U.S. Constitution, Tim Harper has struck a perfect middle ground. He has written a "plain English" discussion of the Constitution that explains the document very well, clarifying the sometimes archaic language, and tracking how its interpretation has evolved through the decades via court rulings and congressional laws. He gives a brief history leading to the clause or amendment when appropriate that adds a richer understanding. He includes the pivotal cases relating to the various amendments without going overboard and bogging down in too many details. And although very thorough, his style of writing is relaxed and informal, so you won't feel like you're studying a textbook.
If you've always wanted to learn about the Constitution, go with this book and you can't go wrong