Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: A More Perfect Union

At the Ben Carson book signing at Barnes and Nobles in Waterloo back in October, I purchased Carson's 2015 book, A More Perfect Union for $20.  Carson signed it on the front page.
Today I finally finished the book.  For the most part it's a commentary, explaining the United States Constitution.  If you slept through social studies, American history, or government class in school (or your class didn't teach you about the Constitution), this is the book for you.

Since I've already studied the Constitution in depth, I was pretty much just reading things I knew.  I would give Carson an A+ for understanding the Constitution.  He knows the document and the history of the founders well.  And I did learn certain things about the lives of the founders that I did not know.

The book is formatted very nicely, and it's of good quality, without grammatical mistakes or typos.  I like how Carson chose to start each chapter with an appropriate Bible verse.    

Throughout, Carson sprinkles some very interesting stories from his own life, but I wish he had included more.  Most fascinating to me was a comparison he made between government and chess.  Carson wrote that he played on a chess team in both high school and college.  I wonder what his playing strength is, and/or if he could beat the other candidates in a chess tournament!

Conclusion:  If you already are an avid student of the Constitution, go for one of Carson's other books.  You'll probably find this one boring.  But if you've never paid much attention to the Constitution or the government process, read this book!  It's a very nice, well-written analysis. It contains respectfully-presented conservative commentary, spiced with reflections from life and a common-sense approach to government and the "big picture."
Also sharing this at the Springtime in Magnolia Book Club.

14 comments:

  1. That's nice! I think that would be great if you can have the chance to play with him chess :)

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    1. Yes, *that* would be totally awesome! I'd love to have the chance to play him a game, though at this point it seems unlikely, as the politicians have left Iowa for another four years.

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  2. As I am Australian, I don't know anything about the American Constitution. So, I think this book would be great to further my understanding.

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    1. I'm sure it would be--and it would give an insight into the views of many conservatives. The liberals seem to see the Constitution in a totally different light than Dr. Carson does, so that point of view on the Constitution would have to come from another book!

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    1. There are copies available at online stores like Amazon.com if you are interested in reading it.

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  4. Thanks for the review! :) ~Lisa

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  5. From Adam:

    I would like to hear how much he loves the 16th amendment?

    People know the 1st and the 2nd, but blank at the third. Including the people who claim to know it.

    Though there is the argument that the Constitution or rights in general "come from God" which reminds me of George Carlin's stand up bit.

    "But let’s say it’s true, let’s say God gave us these rights. Why would he give us a certain number of rights? The Bill of Rights of this country has ten stipulations, okay? Ten rights.

    And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week because we had to amend the Bill of Rights an additional seventeen times. So God forgot a couple of things. Like… slavery! Just -- slipped his mind. But let’s say, let’s say God gave us the original ten. He gave the British thirteen, the British Bill of Rights has thirteen stipulations. The Germans have twenty-nine, the Belgians have twenty-five, the Swedish have only six, and some people in the world have no rights at all. What kind of a -- god-given deal is that?" -George Carlin

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    1. Carson included every amendment in his book (and a commentary on each) to help anyone who might not remember them. Although I've read them all various times...ask me a specific number, and I may well be left guessing. The same works for Bible verses--I know the verses but including the reference leaves me clueless. That's probably something I should work on.

      I was surprised that Carson's commentary on the 16th didn't include any criticism of it. In fact, he said, "Prior to its passage, a hodgepodge of methods were used to collect money from citizens for the purpose of running the government. None of these worked very well. This amendment laid the groundwork for some consistency in taxation."

      I think the Founders outsmarted Carlin in a way by adding the 9th and 10th amendments...protecting unnamed and unnumbered other rights and powers.

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  6. Thanks for the review! My grandmother lent me a biography on Ben Carson but I haven't read any books written by him. This looks interesting.

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