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Amending America: If We Love the Constitution So Much, Why Do We Keep Trying to Change It? by Richard B. Bernstein with Jerome Agel (157,000 words)

The story of how the Constitution has been reshaped over the past 200 years to meet America’s changing needs. Since 1789, 27 amendments were adopted — creating the Bill of Rights, banning liquor, protecting the right to vote and reworking how we choose presidents and senators — and more than 10,000 failed. Proposed amendments tried to stave off the Civil War and then wrote its results into the Constitution.

“[A] thoughtful history of the Amendments to the Constitution... An excellent delineation of issues debated by modern constitutional scholars.” —

“[A] sober, straightforward history of the process of amending the Constitution” —
Publishers Weekly

“[A] comprehensive and engaging study of Article V’s procedures for amending the constitution.” — Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn,
Washington Post

“The authors capture the essence of the importance of the amending process in a highly readable, gracefully written book... This book, which discusses knotty legal and constitutional issues without stuffiness and in plain language, should be easy reading for students and laypersons.” — Mary Frances Berry,
The Journal of American History

“[A] readable, intelligently organized, and well-informed history of how and why the Constitution has been amended.” — Kermit L. Hall,
The Historian

“[S]cholarly and readable.” — Fredric H. Karr,
Human Rights

“Bernstein’s work is engaging and stimulating... he is to be commended for explaining so carefully just how complex a set of questions and problems cluster around Article 5.” — Jack N. Rakove,
The American Historical Review

“Well written... this volume fills an important gap in the current literature and is likely to be the standard account of amending history for some time to come.” — John R. Vile,
The American Journal of Legal History

“[A] masterful book, daring in its scope and impeccable in its execution.
Amending America is a great work of scholarship that does justice to the United States Constitution as a living and evolving document. It is a tribute to the working of American democracy, and contributes to our understanding of its evolution and its unfinished agenda.” — Vartan Gregorian, President, Brown University

“A magnificent treasure trove of American history, which brings to life why our Constitution has remained a ‘living document’ for over two centuries.
Amending America is a wonderful book for anyone interested in our country.” — Arthur R. Miller, Bruce Bromley Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Amending America is invaluable for just about anybody seeking to understand the contradictions of our approach to constitutional government. With grace, insight, and considerable information, Bernstein and Agel have written what should be the standard work for a long time to come.” — Herbert S. Parmet, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York, author of Richard Nixon and His America

Amending America admirably illuminates the complex and remarkable history of the American people’s repeated attempts to amend the Constitution, and captures that history’s enduring significance. Written with scholarship, clarity, and grace, this book recovers a previously neglected dimension of American constitutional history.” — William E. Nelson, Professor of Law, New York University, author of The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine

“Instructive and fascinating. The book is thorough, erudite, and packed with the anecdotes that make our political past so enjoyable to review.” —
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“An intelligent, carefully researched, and highly readable account.” —
Detroit News

“The authors have made our country’s charter the centerpiece of a suspenseful and still-unfolding national adventure.” —
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star

“An excellent work about an often-ignored issue.” —
Library Journal

“A fresh and reassuring picture of a living, flexible document strong enough to accept constant challenge and occasional change. The amending process, used wisely, helps meet the needs of an evolving nation. This is an unusual survey of this always-timely process.” —
Anniston (Alabama) Star

“Will amply repay its readers. Scholars of American constitutional development should find the book a useful addition to their shelves; general readers should find it an interesting and enjoyable way to learn about some often overlooked aspects of American history.” — Sanford Levinson,
History Book Club News

“For a book with such a weighty subject,
Amending America is surprisingly entertaining and humorous.” — Alan Mass, New York Law Journal