Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today

Cynthia and Sanford Levinson. Peachtree, $19.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-56145-945-2
Cynthia Levinson (The Youngest Marcher) and her constitutional law professor husband hone in on select aspects of the United States Constitution; after scrutiny of the Preamble’s intentions and some of the document’s problematic provisions, they call urgently for reform, giving it an overall C+ grade. (Sanford Levinson’s 2006 book, Our Undemocratic Constitution, navigated similar terrain for an adult readership.) The authors focus on how bills become law, who can vote or be elected to office, succession provisions, and amending the Constitution; the conundrum of the Electoral College merits its own section. Interest-piquing anecdotes open each chapter, the effects of the Constitution’s provisions are dramatically summarized in poster-like illustrations, and the ensuing discussions—a review of the Framers’ concerns in 1787, analyses of various “Big Problems,” and possible solutions found in other operating constitutions—are both cogent and highly readable (“We continue to operate under the terms of their last-minute flip-flop”). This thought-provoking and exceptionally topical work concludes with a debate between the Levinsons over the best way to accomplish much-needed changes to America’s most basic governing document. Ages 10–14. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
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