The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

David O. Stewart, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8692-3

Since Catherine Drinker Bowen's Miracle at Philadelphia appeared in 1966, no work has challenged its classic status. Now, Stewart's work does. Briskly written, full of deft characterizations and drama, grounded firmly in the records of the Constitutional Convention and its members' letters, this is a splendid rendering of the document's creation. All the debates are here, as are all the convention's personalities. It detracts nothing from Stewart's lively story to point out that it's just that—a tale—and not an interpretation. Stewart, a constitutional lawyer in Washington, D.C., ignores the recent decades' penetrating scholarship about the Constitution's creation in favor of a fast-paced narrative of a long, hot summer's work. Only one choice mars the book. Stewart, like Bowen, wants us to see the four summer months as the only period when the Constitution was created. But as James Madison and others acknowledged soon afterward, the state ratifying conventions and the First Federal Congress, which added the Bill of Rights, also contributed to the Constitution as we know it. Stewart's excellent book will appeal to those looking for descriptive history at its best, not for a fresh take on the subject. B&w illus. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/08/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4165-5404-2
Paperback - 349 pages - 978-0-7432-8693-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0188-6
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