The Constitution Explained: A Guide for Every American

Visible Ink. Jun. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781578597505. pap. $24.95. REF
Focusing on the Constitution’s history, including the Articles of Confederation, the Philadelphia Convention, the Bill of Rights, and selected other amendments, Hudson’s (law, Belmont Univ.; First Things First) simply written book includes chapters ranging from four (“Articles of Confederation”) to 33 pages (“First Amendment”) in length and references historical and current events (President Trump’s impeachments; the riot on January 6, 2021). A few topics, such as Black Lives Matter, are only mentioned as illustration captions, and Hudson does not examine potential applications of the Constitution to contemporary issues. The work ends with a six-page chapter that is more conclusion than discussion of ongoing constitutional controversies. A detailed index, which includes illustrations and cross references, lists people, court cases, places, media, organizations, and legislation and historical events. An appendix includes the full text of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the title also includes a current bibliography. Most recent similar titles are limited to the full text of the founding documents. Three older titles—Ray Raphael’s The U.S. Constitution (2017), Susan Low Bloch and Vicki C. Jackson’s Federalism (2013), and John R. Vile’s Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2010 (2010)—offer more detailed discussion.
VERDICT Despite its limited coverage of amendments, this adds to the content in Bloch and Jackson’s and Vile’s works, and will interest general readers as well as students of political science, government, and teacher education.
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