The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation

by Jonathan Hennessey, Aaron McConnell
     
 

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Our leaders swear to uphold it, our military to defend it. It is the blueprint for the shape and function of government itself and what defines Americans as Americans. But how many of us truly know our Constitution?

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation uses the art of illustrated storytelling to breathe life into our nation's

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Overview

Our leaders swear to uphold it, our military to defend it. It is the blueprint for the shape and function of government itself and what defines Americans as Americans. But how many of us truly know our Constitution?

The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation uses the art of illustrated storytelling to breathe life into our nation's cornerstone principles. Simply put, it is the most enjoyable and groundbreaking way to read the governing document of the United States. Spirited and visually witty, it roves article by article, amendment by amendment, to get at the meaning, background, and enduring relevance of the law of the land.

What revolutionary ideas made the Constitution's authors dare to cast off centuries of rule by kings and queens? Why do we have an electoral college rather than a popular vote for president and vice president? How did a document that once sanctioned slavery, denied voting rights to women, and turned a blind eye to state governments running roughshod over the liberties of minorities transform into a bulwark of protection for all?

The United States Constitution answers all of these questions. Sure to surprise, challenge, and provoke, it is hands down the most memorable introduction to America's founding document.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Writer Hennessey and artist McConnell undertake the imposing task of going through the entire U. S. Constitution, article by article, amendment by amendment, explaining their meaning and implications-in comics format. Avoiding the didactic, the book succeeds in being both consistently entertaining and illuminating. The illustrations are sometimes predictable: as the text describes King George III wrestling with the rebellion, the art shows him arm wrestling a colonist. More often, in the editorial cartoon tradition, McConnell's art ranges inventively through different styles and devices, from realistic depictions of historic personages to symbolic figures (the president as a man with the White House as his head) and even talking birds and parodic superheroes. Hennessey is particularly good at exploring the historical context in which various elements of the Constitution originated, such as the excesses of European monarchies. He also chronicles the dark side of constitutional history, notably how long it allowed slavery to remain legal. While the book depicts the framers of the Constitution as practical men, readers will also be impressed by the framers' vision in devising a system that has endured for two centuries, and it's a fine introduction to U.S. legal history. (Oct.)

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Library Journal

Who knew that political history could be so interesting? Forming a more perfect union has taken over 200 years, and it's not finished yet. But we the people have always been in there fighting for something better.-M.C. (LJ11/15/08)


—Martha Cornog
Kirkus Reviews
A searching interpretation of that sonorous document the Constitution, with cartoons. Why have a Constitution to begin with? Because, remarks film and TV writer Hennessey-who, even if his prose is bound by balloons, turns out to be quite the Constitutional scholar-the founding fathers were keenly aware that civil rights were never formally written down in Britain, "and that deeply troubled the framers." That's as much of an establishing conflict as is needed for a superhero piece, and Hennessey, paired with artist McConnell, does a fine job of turning the making of the document, despite all the dull stretches in the Constitutional Convention that James Madison recorded in his diary, into a drama. Happily, Hennessey is aware of the truly radical origins of the Constitution, even as he notes its conservative strains. For example, he remarks that the system of checks and balances is a remarkable innovation, even if it sometimes seems that presidential actions-as with military intervention in Vietnam and elsewhere-go unchecked. In addition, laws are difficult to make in this country for very good reason: "Otherwise we might get too many of them." Combining words and appropriate images, sometimes comic and sometimes earnest, the narrative visits such matters as the three-fifths law of determining apportionment, the writ of habeas corpus, eminent domain and conceptions of property and freedom of assembly and movement (for instance, the Articles of Federation forbade "vagabonds and paupers" from crossing state lines). Also covered are the many guarantees Americans take for granted-not least the Ninth Amendment, which states that certain rights not enumerated ("The right to scratch a dog behindthe ears?") shall not be denied. A sugarcoated but undiluted vehicle for schooling American readers about their rights and responsibilities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809094707
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/14/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
145,068
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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