The Federalist Companion: A Guide to Understanding the Federalist Papers is a must-read for anyone interested in a better understanding of one of the most brilliant documents ever written--the U.S. Constitution.
In one single volume, author Edward Duvall manages to gives readers all of the background needed to comprehend this complex topic. This is accomplished by explaining the causes of the Revolutionary War, the conduct of the war, the failure of the Articles and the debates that led to the adoption of the Constitution.
Duvall also provides a full chronology of the era from 1761 to the ratification of the Constitution. I found this really helpful in understanding how this great nation came to be and the mindset of our Founders. I've never seen it so concisely organized in any other book.
In addition to providing the full text of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, Duvall also provides a complete topical index with cross-references to both The Federalist Papers and the Constitution, as well as a cross-reference from provisions in the Constitution to sections in The Federalist Papers.
Understanding our past is essential to figuring out our future--and there is possibly no other time in the history of the nation in which this understanding is more pressing.