Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1979-2015

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1979-2015

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1979-2015. 4th ed. By John R. Vile. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 2 vols. $189 (ISBN 978-1-61069-931-0). Ebook available (978-1-61069-932-7) call for pricing.

Amending (pun totally intended) such works of reference on a semi-regular basis is key to staying current. In this fourth edition author John R. Vile has again made the necessary revisions to reflect the enduring engagement and discourse pertaining to the practice of amending the US Constitution. It should be noted that if you are looking for a straight-forward, chronological overview of the amendments in their historical contexts, this would probably not be the go-to source. Instead, Grey House Publishing Inc.'s Constitutional Amendments: An Encyclopedia of the People, Procedures, Politics, Primary Documents, Campaigns for the 27 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States (2012) or Gale's Constitutional Amendments: From Freedom of Speech to Flag Burning (2008) would be the preferred choice. Vile's contribution takes a more nuanced approach to the study of this specialized field by including entries on related (unresolved) issues, influential people and organizations, Supreme Court decisions, and as noted in the title, proposed amendments that failed to pass Congress and ratification. In light of this diverse content, one can see how releasing new editions of the work every so often is indeed warranted.

As for its organization, entries are alphabetic, and listed only as such in the front matter. Because of the varied content, I would have also liked to have seen a thematic clustering of entries somewhere up front, as is often present in such works, but no such luck with this one. …

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