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Publisher's Summary

When the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia adjourned late in the summer of 1787, the delegates returned to their states to report on the new Constitution, which had to be ratified by specially elected conventions in at least nine states. Pauline Maier recounts the dramatic events of the ensuing debate in homes, taverns, and convention halls, drawing generously on the speeches and letters of founding fathers, both familiar and forgotten, on all sides.

This is the first narrative history in decades of the ratification debate, with all its significance, and it draws on new scholarship about the ratification process. In Maier's skillful hands, this fascinating yet often overlooked episode in the nation's history comes to life as never before.

©2010 Pauline Maier (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Adam
  • IRVING, TX, United States
  • 09-29-11

Very good

This is a very good book, covering a topic that is not easy to cover. Almost any book that mentions these debates will devote no more than a few pages to them, even though the ratification was one of the most important events in American history. This book isn't just worth it because of how informative and well written it is, but also because of the importance of the topic itself.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Howard
  • San Diego, CA United States
  • 08-27-11

History Always Repeats

I did not know much about the state ratification process, and so it was interesting to learn how detailed the debates were (including, for example, the appropriate limits of diversity jurisdiction). The fights generally centered on a strong central government versus state variation and local control, pretty much what is going on today. The book was a bit too long but otherwise quite good.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A must for true comprehension of the Constitution

Dense and detailed, but worth the time. You will understand so much more about the nature of the Founding than you would have imagined possible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!!

Probably one of the best books on early America. Must read for those interested in the roots of the American Constitution.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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eye openning history

What made the experience of listening to Ratification the most enjoyable?

The logical history based on diaries, newspapers, and meeting minutes. This is a fantastic view of life in 18th century. It is a must read for constitutional history buffs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting, but laborious

Seemed like the book was 50 hours long. The author goes into minutiae that’s common between the different states’ ratification conventions. I stopped listening with about 4 hours left.

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Too much little stuff, became white noise

imagine if Petyr Baelish had an American brother. now double a normal listening pace and that would tell you about the listening experience. I did not enjoy American Scripture and after powering through this, I have decided I'm done with Pauline Maier. she is too detailed and the little stuff, so inconsequential to today's world. she was right, this topic was too wide and deep for one book. it just became white noise after the prolouge.

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Fascinating Book

This is an essential read for con law nerds or American history fans. Heller mispronounced some words and names and referred to some constitutional sections incorrectly. I'm not sure it was necessary to record the Appendix (Constitution and Bill of Rights).

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Interesting and enjoyable

This is a well-researched and fairly balanced account of the ratification of the US Constitution. It's just fascinating to hear about the passions, the corruption, and the different social and political groups that all played a role in ratification. It's fascinating to hear about the state-by-state differences in both federalists and "anti-federalists," with Massachusetts' Constitution skeptics being so very, very different from, say Pennsylvania's. It's well written, and nods to the ways historical context led to the different debates, and even the different forms of corruption. Really, it's just amazing.

The narrator is pretty good, though he did slip into a bizarre southern accent while portraying uneducated New Englanders.

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Great for History

This book would be recommended for those with a great curiosity into the circumstances behind the otherwise largely untold history of the ratification of Constitution. Other less motivated casual listeners might not have their attention held by this lengthy book. Highly recommended if you are interested in this topic.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful