From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-Once again, Freedman demonstrates his masterful ability to focus on those aspects of a historical event, figure, or, in this case, document, that will intrigue readers and give history a sense of immediacy. He prefaces his thorough examination of the Bill of Rights with some engaging questions: Can schoolchildren be required to salute the American flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Can a rap group be prosecuted for using "obscene" lyrics? Does the Constitution allow school officials to use physical punishment? Freedman briefly discusses the evolution of the Constitution and Bill of Rights from ideas first set forth in the Magna Carta and then examines the first 10 amendments in individual chapters packed with potential scenarios or real-life examples of infringements of Constitutional rights. Milton Meltzer's The Bill of Rights (HarperCollins, 1990), which is similar in scope, was written before the privacy issues raised by the advent of the Internet, new technological spying capabilities, the question of whether homeland security can be attained without sacrificing Sixth Amendment protections, and other issues that are considered here. The author describes and quotes from Supreme Court cases, which are listed in an index giving both print and online sources for the full texts of the decisions. Black-and-white photos and reproductions appear throughout. This excellent study of the continually evolving meaning and interpretation of the Bill of Rights is a fine companion volume to Freedman's Give Me Liberty! (Holiday, 2000) and is an essential purchase for all libraries.Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 5-10. Freedman is at his best in this compelling, timely discussion of the Constitution and civil liberties. In his signature clear, conversational prose, he talks about the history of the Bill of Rights, from the time it was first voted on two centuries ago through the ongoing struggle to keep people free. What does that word people
mean? For a long time, the term didn't include African Americans, Native Americans, or women. Freedman devotes a chapter to each amendment, covering its origin, various interpretations, landmark Supreme Court cases, and, always, the contemporary scene, including the conflicts now raging about national security and individual freedom in the aftermath of 9/11. He cites many cases involving young people and he is careful to discuss many sides of controversial topics such as abortion and capital punishment. The book design is beautiful, with thick paper, lots of white space, historical prints (including an archival print of the Bill of Rights), and lots of photos. This is a must for classroom discussion and personal interest, and the source notes and annotated bibliography at the back, as spaciously laid out as the text, will help readers find out more. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved