Explores the amendments that have been made to the Constitution, as well as the proposed amendments that were not passed, detailing the controversies and Supreme Court cases that surrounded them.
VOYA - Victoria YablonskyThe focus of this title on the U.S. Constitution is its carefully crafted amendment procedure. Morin begins with some historical background on the Constitutional Convention and the necessity of including procedures for revising the Constitution's provisions. She then presents the twenty-seven amendments chronologically, including the historical events and constitutional and legal arguments surrounding them. Her purpose is to show how the amendment process and its results, shaping life and being shaped by life in the U.S., have allowed the Constitution to continue as a living document for over two centuries. Morin succeeds in her purpose, but the text covers a great deal of information in a short space and it can be confusing. The issues involved in some of the amendments are complicated, as are some of the explanations, particularly regarding the constitutional and legal arguments. The chronological arrangement provides order, but the discussions of cases and precedents often move back and forth historically and could be difficult for a student to follow. This would be a useful title for research reports for U.S. history and government classes. The chapters on the amendment passed following the Civil War would be particularly useful for research on civil rights. However, there are a few editing errors in the text, including two instances of lines missing in the move from one page to the next in chapter one, that should be considered before purchase. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA Codes: 2Q 1P S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, No YA will read unless forced to for assignments, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library JournalGr 7 Up-This well-written examination of the topic opens with the deliberations at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and the creation of the amendment process. Morin then looks at each of the amendments, beginning with a section on the Bill of Rights. Several, such as those from the Civil War era, receive a chapter each, while others, such as Prohibition and its repeal and the 20th-century amendments relating to the presidency, are grouped together topically. For each amendment, the author provides the text and an excellent analysis of why it was needed, what it has accomplished, and the Supreme Court rulings that have defined it. She also includes chapters on failed efforts such as the ERA and recently proposed amendments such as congressional term limits. She supplies considerable historical background so that readers can put issues into context. Black-and-white photos, reproductions, and political cartoons illustrate the text. Barbara Feinberg's Constitutional Amendments (Holt, 1996) covers the same material but not with the same level of background and analysis. Morin's title is a good choice for any library that needs comprehensive material about the constitution.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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