From the list on understanding America.
Who am I?
I’ve always loved America and our Constitution. I went to law school, I clerked at the Supreme Court, and I ended up teaching Constitutional law at Penn. But as I learned more about the Constitution and our history, I realized that the story I’d absorbed growing up about what our values were and where they came from didn’t ring true. Things were a little more complicated. And so I did my own research. I read dozens of books, including the ones listed here. And in the end, I found a story that was both more true and more inspiring than the one we learned in school.
Kermit's book list on understanding America
Discover why each book is one of Kermit's favorite books on understanding America .
Why this book?
Eric Foner is our nation’s foremost historian of Reconstruction, the author of dozens of books and articles. This is my favorite—it takes the research and thought of a monumental career and packages it for maximum impact. In just over 200 pages, it takes you through the changes of the Civil War and Reconstruction and their relevance for America today.
The Second Founding
Why should I read it?
4 authors picked The Second Founding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal but it took the Civil War and the adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and the equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. By grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, the amendments marked the second founding of the United States.
Eric Foner conveys the dramatic origins of these revolutionary amendments and explores the court decisions that then narrowed and nullified the rights guaranteed in these amendments. Today, issues…
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