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The Constitution has been the subject of countless books, for readers of
all ages, to say nothing of books on specific constitutional issues.
Here is a very brief listing, focusing primarily on recent books, many
of which are still in print.
Fritz, Jean. Can t You Make Them Behave, King George? Ill. by Tomie
dePaola. Coward, 1967.
Fritz, Jean. Shhh! We re Signing the Constitution. Ill. by Tomie
dePaola. Putnam, 1987. Using a personal style, Fritz introduces the men
who wrote the Constitution and the times in which they lived.
Fritz, Jean. What s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? Ill. by Margot Tomes.
Levy, Elizabeth. If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution.
Scholastic, 1987. The signers of the Constitution answer questions a
child might pose.
Bowen, Catherine Drinker. Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the
Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787. Little, Brown, 1966. A
highly readable and reliable account of the day-to-day events in the
Constitutional Convention, the book contains excellent descriptions of
the people and places involved in this historical event.
Corbin, Carole Lynn. The Right to Vote. Watts, 1985. A clear, concise
overview of democracy s most important component, this history has
special sections on blacks, women and those under 21.
DePauw, Linda Grant. Founding Mothers: Women in America in the
Revolutionary Era. Houghton, Mifflin, 1975.
Franklin, Paula A. The Fourth Amendment. Silver Burdett, 1991. Explains
search and seizure law.
Lawson, Don. The Changing Face of the Constitution. Watts, 1979.
Amendments and Supreme Court decisions have been needed to guarantee
rights not stated in the original document.
Morris, Richard. The Constitution. Lerner, 1985.
Bachmann, Steven. The U.S. Constitution for Beginners. Writers and
Readers, 1987. Very simple book, illustrated.
Barbash, Fred. Founding: A Dramatic Account of the Writing of the
Bartholomew, Paul and Menez, Joseph. Summaries of the Great Cases of the
Constitution. Littlefield,, Adams, 1990. Recent edition of a classic
compilation of cases.
Bernstein, Richard. Are We to Be a Nation: The Making of the
Constitution. Harvard, 1987
Bovard, James. Lost Rights. St. Martin's Griffin, 1995. Contemporary
critique of government overreaching.
Irons, Peter. The Courage of Their Convictions. Free Press, 1988. A
moving account of some of the individuals who struggled to secure the
full meaning of the rights we enjoy today through cases that set Supreme
Kammen, Michael. A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in
American Culture. Vintage, 1986. Kammen investigates the meaning of the
Constitution on practical and symbolic levels. The Constitution emerges
from his analysis as a document of strength and flexibility that mirrors
the changes in society s values and beliefs.
Karst, Kenneth. Law's Promise, Law's Expression: Visions of Power in the
Politics of Race, Gender, and Religion. Yale, 1994
Klage, David. The People's Guide to the U.S. Constitution. Birch Lane
Press, 1994. A simple, easy- to-read look at the Constitution.
Lieberman, Jethro. The Evolving Constitution. Random House, 1992.
Important decisions, grouped by topic.
McWhirter, Darien A. Exploring the Constitution Series. Oryx Press,
1994. Four books for students 9-12: Equal Protection; Search, Seizure,
and Privacy; The Separation of Church and State; and Freedom of Speech,
Press, and Assembly. Each gives overview of court decisions, glossary,
Padover, Saul K. The Living U.S. Constitution. Third edition, revised.
Meridian, 1995. Recent edition of a classic.
Ritchie, Donald. Know Your Government: The U.S. Constitution. Chelsea
House, 1989. Brief account, part of a series on American government.
Smith, Page. The Constitution: A Documentary and Narrative History.
Morrow, 1978. An excellent compendium of documents and explanations on
the origins and evolution of the Constitution.
Speath, Harold J. and Smith, Edward C. The Constitution of the United
States. Harper Collins, 1991. Good reference, in outline form.
Sunstein, Cass. The Partial Constitution. Harvard, 1993. Argues for a
fundamental rethinking of the Constitution and its interpretation.
Anastaplo, George. The Amendments to the Constitution. Johns Hopkins,
1995. Commentary on the amendments.
Bernstein, Richard, with Azel, Jerome. Amending America. Kansas, 1993.
Commentary on the amendment process.
Bill of Rights
Alderman, Ellen and Kennedy, Caroline. In Our Defense: The Bill of
Rights in Action. Morrow, 1991. Defense of the Bill of Rights, published
on its 200th anniversary.
Domino, John C. Civil Rights and Liberties: Toward the 21st Century.
Harper Collins, 1994.
Hall, Kermit L. (ed.). By and for the People. Harlan Davidson, 1991.
Short, nontechnical essays, right by right, for high school and college
Monk, Linda R. The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. Close Up Foundation,
1991. Lively book for high school students looks at the subject
amendment by amendment.
Altschiller, Donald (ed.). Affirmative Action. Wilson, 1991. Collection
of essays on many aspects of the topic.
Nelson, William E. The Fourteenth Amendment. Harvard, 1988. Examines
goals of those who wrote the amendment and Supreme Court
O Reilly, Kenneth. Nixon s Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from
Washington to Clinton. Free Press, 1995. Race, law, and politics in
recent American history.
Elkins, Stanley and McKitrick, Eric, The Age of Federalism: The Early
American Republic, 1788- 1800. Oxford, 1993. Major scholarly look at
intellectual currents of the era.
Hakim, Joy. From Colonies to Country. Oxford, 1993. Brief history of the
Lewis, Anthony. Gideon s Trumpet. Random House, 1964. Highly readable
account of the Supreme Court s 1962 Supreme Court decision Gideon v.
Wainwright, guaranteeing legal representation to those who could not
otherwise afford an attorney.
First Amendment--Free Speech/Free Press
Hentoff, Nat. Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee. Harper Collins,
1992. Examines role of free speech and countervailing forces.
Powe, Lucas A. The Fourth Estate and the Constitution. California, 1991.
Examines the current state of the right of a free press.
Smolla, Rodney A. Free Speech in an Open Society. Knopf, 1992. What
limits should there be on free speech?
Carter, Stephen L. The Culture of Disbelief. Basic books, 1993. Yale law
professor looks at the relationship of religion and law.
Levy, Leonard W. The Establishment Clause. Macmillan, 1986. Examines
interpretations of the clause.
Alderman, Ellen and Kennedy, Caroline. The Right to Privacy. Knopf,
1995. Case histories and surveys of the law. Co-author is member of the
Kennedy family, adding a personal perspective to the issue.
Tribe, Laurence. The Clash of Absolutes. Norton, 1995. Focuses on the
right to abortion, which has been held to be protected by constitutional
guarantees of privacy.
Schwartz, Bernard. History of the Supreme Court. Oxford, 1993. Major
Hall, Kermit L. (ed.). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the
United States. Oxford, 1992. Excellent resource on the Court covers
cases, controversies, concepts, biographies of justices, and more.
[Excerpted from '96 material from the American Bar Assn.]
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