The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840

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The number of books written about the founding of America could fill up a medium-sized library. It is one of the most over-examined events in American history, and books continue to come out by the handful each year. So it is a breath of fresh air when a book like this comes out, being so masterfully written and not full of technical jargon.

Instead of focusing on battles, Professor Akhil Amar focuses on the use of language and how it helped to shape the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and eventually, how people read the Constitution. He brings to life many of the personalities people already know––Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, etc.––puts them into their place, and explains how they interacted with one another.

The forging of the Constitution was no forgone conclusion and the debates that riled the American papers have often been overlooked, although Amar spends quite a bit of time going through the matter. People will even find modern phrasing such as “meme” in this book, which is a way to appeal to younger readers. I hope this book becomes required reading at the high-school level.

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Author Akhil Reed Amar
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 832 pages
Publisher Basic Books
Publish Date 04-May-2021
ISBN 9780465096350 Buy this Book
Issue August 2021
Category History