The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution

The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution

4.2 13
by Linda R. Monk
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

UPDATED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS, The Words We Live By takes an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions about new rulings on hot-button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, the right to bear arms, and affirmative action.

In The Words We Live By, award-winning author

Overview

UPDATED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS, The Words We Live By takes an entertaining and informative look at America's most important historical document, now with discussions about new rulings on hot-button issues such as immigration, gay marriage, the right to bear arms, and affirmative action.

In The Words We Live By, award-winning author and journalist Linda R. Monk explores the many interpretations of the Constitution's text in a balanced manner. The Words We Live By presents a new way of looking at the Constitution through entertaining and informative annotations—filled with the stories of the people behind the Supreme Court cases and historical perspective, along with enough surprises and fascinating facts and illustrations to prove that the Constitution is every bit as relevant today as it was in 1787.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A wonderfully accessible yet deeply insightful guide to our Constitution that should be read and enjoyed by a wide audience of old and young alike."—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian"

I have never before seen so clear an explanation of what's in the Constitution and why. Monk has provided a service to the nation that should earn her a Presidential Medal of Freedom."—Nat Hentoff, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Senior Fellow, Cato Institute"

A book for 'We the People' of all ages—wonderfully simple but never simplistic, brimming with profound and provocative ideas."—Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University"

Finally, a book that presents all sides of constitutional issues."—Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and FOX News Channel contributor"

Linda Monk takes us on a lively and learned exploration of the document that underlies not only how we Americans govern ourselves but how we make sense of the world. Anyone reading The Words We Live By will finish it with a greater understanding of the Constitution and a new respect for how it has secured freedom and self-government for the last two centuries."—Steve Chapman, syndicated columnist, Chicago Tribune"

[Linda Monk] captures just the right blend of history and current events to help us understand why the Constitution is America's cornerstone of freedom."—Charles Overby, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor and Chairman of the Overby Center of Southern Journalism and Politics"

When I covered federal courts in Washington at the foot of Capitol Hill, I read The Words We Live By all the time. When I stopped covering the courts, I still read it all the time. Smart, informed, witty—just the way everyone wants to sound when discussing the Constitution."—Neely Tucker, staff writer, Washington Post"

The U.S. Constitution gets a comprehensive overview in this engaging blend of history and commentary. Monk . . . traces the history and consequences of each part of this vital document in a line-by-line analysis of the original seven articles and the 27 amendments. She also gives even-handed but lively accounts of the debates over such Constitutional controversies as the right to bear arms, the right to privacy, church-state separation, and capital punishment."—Citation for Chief of Staff of the Air Force 2012 Reading List"

This volume ought to be required reading for every American young and old."—Governor William Winter, Chairman Emeritus of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

Publishers Weekly
The U.S. Constitution gets a comprehensive overview in this engaging blend of history and commentary. Monk, author of The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide, traces the history and consequences of each part of this vital document in a line-by-line analysis of the original seven articles and the 27 amendments. Drawing on the writings of constitutional scholars, Supreme Court Justices and concerned citizens like Charlton Heston, playwright Arthur Miller and rock star Ted Nugent, she also gives even-handed but lively accounts of the debates over such Constitutional controversies as the right to bear arms, the right to privacy, church-state separation and capital punishment. The portrait of the Constitution that emerges is a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Some parts, like the Civil War amendments that defined citizenship and equality in granting them to African-Americans, are terse milestones in our evolving understanding of freedom, while elsewhere the Constitution seems like a scratch-pad for ill-considered ideas like the hastily repealed Prohibition Amendment. Monk avoids comparisons with other countries' charters that might have illuminated the Constitution's idiosyncrasies, and skirts deeper critiques, like Daniel Lazare's argument that the Constitution's overall structure of states' rights, separation of powers and checks and balances hobbles rather than effectuates the will of the people. Still, this is a fine introduction to Constitutional history for a general readership laid out rather like a good social studies textbook. Illus. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Law school graduate and ABA prize winner Linda Monk has produced an amazingly informative and entertaining handbook on the Constitution. Here the reader will find first the complete text of the Constitution; secondly, a phrase-by-phrase explanation of the intention and history of the document complete with vocabulary in the side margin; and thirdly, inset pictures and quotations across more than 200 years of reaction and commentary ranging from Benjamin Franklin to Charlton Heston, from John Marshall to Sandra Day O'Connor, from Herblock to Boondocks. Here too is a history of the court cases which, since the beginning, have shaped our interpretation of the Constitution, each considered in the context of the article to which it relates. The page layout is excellent. Altogether, a useful reference work that could also be a text. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Hyperion, 288p. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to adult.
—Pat Moore

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786886203
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
61,050
Product dimensions:
8.92(w) x 7.02(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1340L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Linda R. Monk, J.D., is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she twice received the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for law-related media. She served as Series Advisor for the PBS documentary Constitution USA, and she has appeared on MSNBC, C-SPAN, and NPR. For more than 25 years, Monk has written commentary for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune. She served as a Visiting Scholar at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the Lead Curator for the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago, and a consultant to the Newseum in Washington, D.C. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and conducted seminars for such groups as the Pentagon, Fulbright Scholars, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and National History Day.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Words We Live by 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a lawyer and Consitutional scholar. I have given several speeches on the origins and history of the constitution. I have looked for years for a good primmer which puts the basic language of the Constitution into historical context and traces the Supreme Court's interpretion and treatment of that language. One can then easily go on if necessary to find more indepth treatment of that language in the actual decisions of the court or in the progeny of the landmark decisions. The recent Heller decision is a good illustration. There is sparce mention of the Second ammendment in the history of the Constituion or in court decisions handed down since the ratification of the Bill of Rights. For many years a dabate raged over whether that Amendment established a private right to bear arms or whether the right only existed in the context of a Militia. While this book was copywrited in 2003, prior to the Heller decision, it's analysis as to what to anticipate in Heller was right on. This is the "little" book I have been looking for for years.
Favre4President More than 1 year ago
What a great book. Linda Monk really breaks things down bit by bit, Article by Article, and Amendment by Amendment. What I liked best was the use of Supreme Court decisions on Constitutional interpretation. While this may seem a logial step, outside of the legal community, many Americans may not really think about it. To have them in something outside of law school textbook and in something meant for everyone is exceptional. A really good feature, as well, is the use of sidebars and quotations of prominent Americans. They put things in context.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a student of the Constitution I have read many books about it over the years. This author takes an entirely new, very liberal view. It is filled with historical inaccuracies and polical-correctnes. My wife bought this for me as a Christmas present. Other than this book, it was a good Chrsitmas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author has taken the Liberal view point about the Constitution. She wants more goverment involment in day to day activities of the citizens. She thinks that Clinton was exonerated. This is not an unbiased view of the Constitution.
Brian_Barbero More than 1 year ago
I graduated from college in 1978 with bachlors degrees in political science and law enforcement. In the process of gaining those degrees, I suffered through countless hours of constitutional law courses. While it was kind of entertaining seeing the spin that my liberal poly sci and ultra conservative law enforcement instructors gave the same material it really wasn't very productive. Wandering thru Barnes and Noble last week, my wife (who also took the law enforcement verison of con law) turned up a copy of "The Words We Live By" and on a whim, I added it to my stack. I found it fascinating. The book brought the Constitution alive for me and corrected a number of misconceptions that I have carried for the last 3 decades.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Berrycape More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! Every American should at least read this book. Not enough Americans know the true make up of The Constitution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I have yet to read the entire book, what I have read is great. Well written. Words we not only do live by, but words we SHOULD live by.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Words We Live By has become a standard reference in my household for my fourth and sixth grader. As my children have gone to the book for questions they have about the Constitution, I have read along with them. In my reading I have found much to admire about The Words We Live By. The writing is clean and crisp, and the author presents a balanced point of view about the constitution. The only agenda Linda Monk seems to have is for her reader to understand the Constitution of the United States. How many books could you pick up that would be praised by both Linda Chavez and Nat Hentoff?
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a college student who is not politically-focused, and has enough required reading already, this was an easy book to pick up and read. By providing pictures, quotes, and defined terms in the margins, it makes it easy to learn- and helps to break up what can otherwise be a dull document, (The Constitution). In addition to explaining each section of the Constitution, Monk provides a balanced discription of the process by which the Constitution was created, including anecdotes when appropriate. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Constitution, or anyone who needs a new book for the bedside table.