Customer Reviews for

The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    No discovery here

    The book attempts to cash in on the growing interest of Americana and falls short. At over 250 pages there is nothing insightful brought that is to light. One third of the book is acknowledgements and notes to other sources. This section is the most interesting part of the entire book.

    It is a rehash of the same old information although the title that implies more than it can deliver. Mr. Bernstein, who calls himself a constitutional historian and has made a career as an Adjunct Professor since 1991, needs focus in the substance of his work rather than an offering a misleading title that does not deliver. This book is a pass.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing; Nothing New

    The title implies some new or unique interpretation of the founding fathers and their legacy. This it really was not. The author adopted a typical approach and pitted two extreme schools of interpreting the founders -- godlike reverence against complete disgust/dismissal -- and proposed a middle way between them at the beginning. As the book progressed, Mr. Bernstein essentially summarized the way Americans have understood and received the founders throughout our history. This was fine as far as it went, but the book mostly failed to add anything new or unique to the historical conversation regarding that class of distinguished personages.

    His discussion towards the end of the book on the debate over original intent as a mode of jurisprudence was especially unsatisfying. He accurately conveyed the criticism of that school but neglected to examine or explain the response to that criticism, especially the fact that many of those who support "original intent" do not actually support it -- they support a school of "original meaning." To those who describe themselves as such -- the most prominent of which is Justice Antonin Scalia -- this distinction constitutes a significant difference.

    The one interesting segment was toward the beginning, where Mr. Bernstein went into an interesting and illuminating discussion of the history of early American constitutionalism. For those interested in the roots of our Constitution, which has stood the test of time, this portion is a worthy read.

    For those unfamiliar with the historical reaction to the founding fathers this book would be a solid, brief summary of that subject. For those already familiar with the topic and looking for some unique or new way of understanding the founders this book could be bypassed.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    As someone who has not done a lot reading of American history I

    As someone who has not done a lot reading of American history I found this to be and interesting look at how the constitution was regarded as it was written, ratified, used and interpreted. It does add some dimension to the founding fathers personalities, but it's focus was really on those that wrote the constitution and mostly the constitution itself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This gave me a whole new perspective on the founding fathers. It was refreshing to see how diverse a group they were and how human. It also made me appreciate how hard it must have been for them to start this country and write the constitution. It makes me proud to be an American.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Little book good details reading.

    I've read about 50 pages and I find it interesting...sort of a launch pad for more Americana.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2009

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