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Publisher's Summary

The Constitutional Convention affected nothing less than a revolution in the nature of the American government. Led by James Madison, a small cohort of delegates devised a plan that would radically alter the balance of power between state and national governments, and then sprung that idea on a largely unsuspecting convention. The success of this bold and brilliant strategy was, however, far from assured, and the ultimate outcome of the delegates' labors---the creation of a frame of government that would enable the fragile American union to flourish---turned out to be very different from that which Madison had originally envisioned. In fact, there was very little agreement among the framers about the nature of the government they had just created. Audiences will come to appreciate the challenges that the Founding Fathers faced in creating a form of government that, while imperfect in many respects, nevertheless approaches, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, "so near to perfection as it does."
©2008 Richard Beeman (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Collette on 10-12-11

Grand Narrative

If you ever wanted to clearly understand what really occurred when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia, this is the book for you. I was not too enthralled by the first few pages of the narrator's voice, but as time passed, I began to like the pace, and lack of enthusiasm in his voice. This is the seminal work for looking deep into the hearts and minds of the authors of the US Constitution.

Much like Goodwin's Team of Rivals, this sweeping work has extensive source materials and uses these source materials to support the finding and lives of these very distinct men. Beeman also carries you back to what the city was like in the late 1700's, thrusting the reader into the time period whether you want to go or not. George Washington's presence at the beginning of the book signals what is about to come!

I encourage those whose tastes move in early American historical fact, this is the book for you. It is comprehensive in scope and answers those questions that you did not think to ask!


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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By ShySusan on 10-01-11

Good history.

I don't read a lot of history, but I have been reading a number of books about the American Revolution and its leaders. This book is a worthy entry into that group. I remember (vaguely) studying this stuff in school, and how boring it was. But this book was not boring. He made the various characters come alive, and he did a good job of making the setting real as well. I have long wondered why the Bill of Rights was not part of the original Constitution and why slavery was not eliminated. These were discussed and well answered. I had heard the Constitution referred to as the Great Compromise without understanding what it meant. Now I know (or at least know a lot more about it than I used to). The more I learn about the founding of our country and the men who made it happen, the more amazed I am that they were able to bring it off, and the more grateful I am to men who were willing to put the good of all ahead of their own personal gain. I also want to say that I have listened to a lot of books narrated by Michael Prichard, and he did his usual excellent job. I recommend this book to you.

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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