Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Fault Lines in the Constitution

Fault Lines in the Constitution

Fall 2017 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 & Up
ISBN: 9781561459452
Hardcover Price: $19.95

At a time in U.S. history when some politicians and Supreme Court justices thump strict constitutionalism as the unalterable last word on all and everything in America, this remarkable book takes an objective, open-minded look at how the U.S. Constitution might be improved, examining certain flaws that have existed in its Articles from the time it was penned.

Fact is that lawmakers have amended the Constitution 27 times since our Founding Fathers created it in 1788—because times change, because justice demands that laws change. Authors Cynthia Levinson, a teacher and author, and her husband Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law scholar and legal author, suggest more tweaking is in order on this most sacrosanct benchmark of all constitutions in the world.

Starting with the Preamble, the authors move into chapters examining political problems rooted in the Constitution's fault lines, including such current issues as the Electoral College, gerrymandering, the presidential veto, voting rights, presidential succession, emergency powers, and even amending the Constitution. Each chapter typically starts with anecdotal fuel—from a Dream Act case explaining Super majorities, to a voter restriction case leading into an analysis of voter rights issues.

The book argues that many of the political and societal issues raising their ugly heads today are direct descendants of the original Constitution, and it makes suggestions how to fix each problem. In the end, both authors being teachers, grade the Constitution's effectiveness over nearly 230 years: It gets a C plus.

Interestingly, while the pithy anecdotes and analyses are so totally right now, the book's pages are a pulpy paper that subliminally feels like back then, like what the Constitution itself might feel like. Meanwhile, the text, while easily understood, is intelligent and provocative.

Don Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Peachtree Publishers

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