Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Next Book You Read....

If you read any other book this year, make it this one.

Pretty bold request huh? Especially when you consider the topic. Who would think that a legal scholar discussing the Constitution would make for good reading?

I didn't. I ordered some books from the History Book Club, and this was offered. As my choices were numbered, I chose to check out the questionable selections from the library after I made my order. Hindsight says I should have ordered this one instead of one of the others.

But no biggie now, as the picture you are looking at is my own copy. The bookmark has the logo for the Moonraker bookstore here in Langley, where I purchase most of my books. (Stop in and say hi to Josh, AnnaBet, and Nancy.) I ordered this one before I was done reading the library copy! That's how good it is.

It's particularly better when you have a companion pocket copy of the Constitution right with you, such as the ones available at the American Bar Association.

Shameless advertising huh? Well, I've never had a problem promoting things I thing are worth promoting. And please note, I am promoting a product they sell, not necessarily them. Back to the book.

This is not a dry book. Mr. Reed covers his history of the document well, and brings out many facts that existed in the early days that most people are unaware of. One being the property qualifications that existed to become a politician, and hence the Constitutional qualifications eliminating that aspect entirely, and why. Another being the electoral system, starting on page 148, and what I found a bit humorous, the executive title. A Senate Committee proposed that the President be called "His Highness, the President of the United States of America, and Protector of their Liberties."

Gag me with a spoon or what?!

This book reveals a lot of information about the Articles of Confederation under which America operated before the Constitution, as well as a comparison to British law under which America existed until the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; a great handling of the three fifths clause, and since I haven't finished reading it, a whole lot more.

So for a while forget the books by the pundits. Forget the books by the journalists, and about the mess in Iraq, and put the fiction back on the shelf. Pull out a copy of the Constitution, this book by Akhil Reed Amar, some good coffee, and learn the history that really matters to Americans.

And if you live in near Yale, stop by Mr. Amar's law class and tell him I sent you along as my proxy to sit in on his class.


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