McDonald deftly recreates the intellectual dimension of the amazing 55 men whose genius and passion gave to us the United States Constitution. It was this work that was primarily responsible for Forrest McDonald's appointment as the 1987 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, the highest scholarly recognition offered annually by the U.S. government through its National Endowment for the Humanities.
©1985 University of Kansas Press; (P)1989 Blackstone Audiobooks
This book might start awkwardly for one accustomed to less academic works. But hang in there, if you like bright, clear, disciplined presentation of big ideas, in depth, with enough history to make sense of it all. I always wanted to dig further into "liberty," "property," "pursuit of happiness," and such ideas, feeling unsatisfied with the shallow syntheses I saw dished up and tossed about in popular books and media. Well, here is a deep exploration of the thinkers and thoughts that fed into the foundations of our society and legal systems (and now much of the world's), and it is so listenable, so well put. This might stand as my favorite audiobook to date (among hundreds). This work goes much further than my law school education did. And where there were a variety of thoughts and positions on these themes among the thought leaders of the day (as of course there were), we get a fine survey, rather than some pre-bent sale-job of one side. That's good scholarship. The next time some blowhard starts bloviating about what the founders supposedly thought and meant, I'll be ready.
Usually you have to give up a few things when you get the audio version of a book -- like the footnotes. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this title get treated as an honest-to-goodness academic book, with everything getting read, including the footnotes, which are actually full of little insights.
The story and history is amazing and captivating. The narration is very dry and has a tendency to put one to sleep. It would have been much better with a more enthusiastic narrator;)
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