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The debates over and ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1788 have been described as "the first great stroke of popular democracy in America and perhaps its most successful and momentous as well." Yet this process, however seminal, has never been recounted in full, resplendent detail. M.I.T. history professor Pauline Maier fills that embarrassing gap with this dramatic narrative, which has already been hailed as "a scrupulously even-handed presentation based on impressive scholarship. Editor's recommendation.