Synopses & Reviews
Pocket versions of the Constitution of the United States of America abound, as do oversize commentaries, learned biographies, and tendentious parsings of various clauses and interpretations. But what if you want a quick reference that places the document and its clauses into context? You're out of luck--until now.
Seth Lipsky, publisher of the late, lamented New York Sun and inveterate conservative, has been studying the Constitution for years. Prompted by arguments and discussions with friends and foes alike, he has put together this guide that gives us the historical context of the writing of the Constitution, the thoughts of the Founders, and how the interpretation has shifted over the years. Lipsky highlights the anti-Federalist position, a point of view lost over the past two hundred years in the face of the dominant Federalists. His Citizen's Constitution serves as a no-nonsense, entertaining, and learned guide to the fundamental questions surrounding the document that governs how we govern our country.
"Inspiring, but also vague, eccentric and sometimes dysfunctional: that's the picture of the Constitution that emerges from this annotated guide. Lipsky, founding editor of the Jewish Forward and the defunct New York Sun, writes extended notes on every phrase in the Constitution and amendments, including obscure elements like letters of marque and reprisal. Citing commentators and landmark Supreme Court cases, he gives an evenhanded account of evolving interpretations of the Constitution and its influence on governance and politics. Lipsky's own predilections show mainly in his resurrection of the anti-Federalists and modern-day defenders of state sovereignty. While highlighting the Constitution's quirks, Lipsky says little about larger issues like the Senate's unequal representation of voters. This is a lively curio shop of Constitutional law and lore, but lacks analytic depth." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic.com
“The most interesting mind in journalism.”
Gordon Crovitz, former publisher, the Wall Street Journal
“From its earliest drafts, the U.S. Constitution was always meant to be read closely for its meaning, context, and intent. Seth Lispky has now undertaken an unprecedented labor in parsing the details of the document, clause by clause, and has produced, with great insight and wit, an extraordinary book — that will help to ensure that our founding and sustaining document gets the respect it deserves. It couldn't be more timely.”
Bernard Nussbaum, former White House counsel
“The history of our country — the history of our Constitution — is a series of great stories. And there is no better story teller than Seth Lipsky. Only he could take our Constitution, break it down, paragraph by paragraph, line by line, word by word and tell the ongoing tale behind each of these provisions. And bring them to life with real people grappling with real issues. The Citizen’s Constitution is more than an annotation; it reads like a novel and will be enjoyed by all, lawyer and non-lawyer alike, for years to come."
James Grant, author of John Adams: Party of One
“Where did the Constitution come from? Where have we, the people, taken it? Seth Lipsky's wonderful Baedecker holds the answers. The ultimate user's manual of America's founding document.”
Jack Fuller, former editor and publisher, Chicago Tribune
“Whether you are a constitutional conservative or liberal, you need to start your thinking with what the words of the document meant when they were written and how their definition has changed in time. Seth Lipsky's annotated constitution is an invaluable resource for this purpose. With rigorous scholarship and delightful wit, Lipsky takes us through the nation's founding document, phrase by phrase. Though The Citizen’s Constitution is written to be understood by non-lawyers, I would be surprised if most lawyers don't learn a thing or two reading it. I certainly did.”
James Taranto,Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2009
“ . . . Mr. Lipsky's passion for the Constitution is a tonic for political depression.”
Jason Lewish, The Jason Lewish Show, November 18, 2009
“‘The Citizens Constitution: An Annotated Guide’ really is the go-to book for those of you just immersing yourselves in our founding document.”
New York Times, January 8, 2010
"…particularly good on the Constitution’s first two articles, which concern Congress and the presidency... [Lipsky] likes rascals and absurdities."
American Thinker, January 29, 2010
"Seth Lipsky's new book … is an essential volume for an educated citizenry.”
National Review Book Service
" ... The Citizen's Constitution: An Annotated Guide, is the easiest, fastest way to discover not only what the Constitution actually says, but also what it plainly means."
New York Times Book Review
“Entertaining…a magpie’s miscellany of curiosities.”
“One of our age’s great journalists…Lipsky writes, rather, for the layman, with a craftsman’s eye for what matters most, the simple yet pregnant text, and a newspaperman’s eye for color.”
“Provide[s] interested citizens with an accessible starting point for understanding the meaning and history behind this great document that forms an essential part of the American idea.”
The American Spectator“[Lipsky is] a skillful and judicious editor…The best quality of The Citizen’s Constitution—and its most distinctive quality—is that it addresses the Constitution from the perspective of a sober citizen, rather than a sophisticated—or jaded—lawyer.”
This pocket-guide to the Constitution serves as a no-nonsense, entertaining, and learned guide to the fundamental questions surrounding the document that governs how America is governed.
Pocket versions of the Constitution of the United States of America abound, as do multi-volume commentaries, scholarly histories of its writing, and political posturings of various clauses. But what if you want a delightfully quick, witty, and readable reference that, in one compact volume, places the document and its clauses into context? You’re out of luck—until now. Written by Seth Lipsky, described in the Boston Globe as “a legendary figure in contemporary journalism,” The Citizen’s Constitution draws on the writings of the Founders, case law from our greatest judges, and current events in more than 300 illuminating annotations. Lipsky provides a no-nonsense, entertaining, and learned guide to the fundamental questions surrounding the document that governs how we govern our country. Every American should know the Constitution. Rarely has it glinted so brightly.
An Elements of Style for how our government is supposed to work
In this delightfully quick, witty, readable, and authoritative guide, Seth Lipsky, legendary newspaperman, places the United States Constitution and its clauses into context. In more than 300 sparkling annotations--fully updated for this paperback edition--The Citizen's Constitution draws on the writings of the Founders, case law from our greatest judges, and current events. Lipsky provides a no-nonsense, entertaining, and learned reference to the fundamental questions surrounding the document that governs how we govern our country.
About the Author
Seth Lipsky, founding editor of the New York Sun, has also worked at the Wall Street Journal at home and abroad, and was founding editor of the Forward newspaper, where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1991. He lives with his wife and four children in New York.