Constitutional Amendments: An Encyclopedia of the People, Procedures, Politics, Primary Documents and Campaigns for the 27 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States

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Constitutional Amendments: An Encyclopedia of the People, Procedures, Politics, Primary Documents and Campaigns for the 27 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. By Mark Grossman. Amenia, NY: Grey House, 2012. 2 vols. $225 (ISBN: 978-1-59237-999-6). E-book available (978-1-61925-003-1), call for pricing.

It should be stated from the onset that the subtitle's description of Mark Grossman's Constitutional Amendments as an "encyclopedia" is a bit of a misnomer. In both form and substance, this work can be more accurately described as a "sourcebook," and it is for these same reasons that it stands as a unique and much richer reference work.

Rather than an alphabetically organized collection of summaries of the various names, events, and other keyword topics associated with the US constitutional amendments as presented in the widely held work Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 3rd ed. (ABC-CLIO, 2010), Grossman offers a chronological and detailed look at each of the twenty-seven amendments spread over eighteen chapters (the Bill of Rights is covered in a single chapter) in two volumes. He states bluntly in the foreword that his goal is to help promote the Constitution's status as a document "to be celebrated," so if you're looking for a reference work which includes a well-rounded critical analysis of the constitution in the vein of Charles A. Beard or Howard Zinn, this is not that work. …