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The United States Constitution : a graphic…

The United States Constitution : a graphic adaptation (2008)

by Jonathan Hennessey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 5 of 5
Likes: This book presents the United States Constitution in an engaging way. The graphics add humor and life. I'd recommend it as a supplement to those teens studying the Constitution in school.

Dislikes: I can't see teens seeking this out on their own, except for those teens who already enjoy history and non-fiction. Adults would probably prefer more meaty commentary and interpretation, but could still find it fun. ( )
  LaneLiterati | Feb 9, 2014 |
A super enjoyable (re)introduction to the U.S. Constitution, full of fascinating historical tidbits and fun visual metaphors. Some stuff BLEW MY MIND (like the fact that, as a federal document, lots of the Constitution's protections didn't extend to state/local law until relatively recently).

Constitutional law is presumably one of those "this way madness lies" disciplines. The last two hundred years of contradictory Supreme Court decisions is enough to make a sane person weep (and, another fun fact, the judicial system's role in clarifying the Constitution is not codified in the Constitution itself). ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
Hennessey and McConnell mix it up quite a bit to present the US Constitution - not only a summary of each article and ammendment, but the ideas behind them and often the historical settings in which they were formed. Often a brief history lesson is used to show what the particular concept was meant to address; other times, hypothetical examples are used. The graphics vary much the same way - sometimes a simple story is being told; other times, an abstract concept is presented in totally original symbols and sci-fi like images.

This is a very accessible approach to what would otherwise be a dry read. Though the text of the constitution itself is only partly quoted, the substance and explanations come across in a well balanced fashion. And, often, the changing interpretations over our history are presented as well, offering a vision of a Constitution that will continue to be re-interepreted and evolve.

A great way to get the meat of this critical document in world history into the mind of a middle- or high-school student.

Os. ( )
1 vote Osbaldistone | Mar 12, 2009 |
I've never read the US Constitution all the way through. In the course of my studies, I have read the entire document, but I've never read it all in one sitting. I guess that's embarrassing, but so be it. It sort-of reminds me of reading the instruction manual to a flat-screen tv. It's important to read, but I've figured it out through experience and trial and error. I admit it's a brilliant document and thank God it exists, but it hasn't really inspired me to read it.

And then along comes Jonathan Hennessey and Aaron McConnell's "The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation". It's actually longer than the Constitution, but it put the whole thing in context and made me want to sit down and read the real thing. The authors and illustrators don't really develop a coherent narrative so much as they create mini-narrative around each article and amendment. I would think this would be a great tool for educators to introduce the Constitution to their students in Middle School or even Upper School. There's also a basic but approachable recommended reading list. Definitely worth looking at. ( )
1 vote dmcolon | Jan 20, 2009 |
I came across The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation completely by accident. I hadn't heard a thing about it and I didn't even know it existed. I was, however, inexplicably excited to find it on the shelf, even if mt friend who was with me looked at me like I was crazy. But, really, it's the Constitution in comic book form, how cool is that? Pretty damn cool, I say.

Written by Jonathan Hennessy, the book covers everything from the Preamble to the Twenty-seventh Amendment in addition to the events leading up to the writing of the famous document and the controversies surrounding its ratification. The book is definitely an adaptation of the Constitution rather than the Constitution with accompanying artwork. As opposed to strictly explaining what the Constitution actually says, Hennessy has chosen to examine how it works in action, both historically and in present day. One way he does this is to refer to significant Supreme Court cases, some as recent as 2008 (which is impressive seeing as the book was published in the same year).

Aaron McConnell's illustrations are an interesting mix of realism and abstraction. How exactly does one represent ideas and concepts in a visual form? McConnell's approach, while the results are eclectic, does work. One of the things I particularly liked was the use of state and national birds as the representation of their respective entities. The different branches of the government are portrayed as human bodies with the corresponding governmental building used in place of a head, which albeit is kinda creepy even if it is effective. The layout and formatting of the pages change dramatically from one to another, but they do remain coherent and readable throughout. While overall the artwork isn't cohesive, McConnell has done a wonderful job with it and has delivered some clever solutions to the problems surrounding the visual representation of abstract concepts.

Overall, I wasn't quite as impressed with the book as I was expecting to be, but it is still an impressive achievement. I do wish that the Constitution itself had been directly quoted more often than it was. A list of recommended readings is included at the end of the book, which is a nice touch. Hopefully, the book will lead to a greater comprehension of the Constitution--Constitutional literacy is important, especially in this day and age when fewer and fewer people seem to really understand how the United States government actually works. The graphic adaptation is definitely not going to replace the advantages of reading the real thing, but it does serve as a fantastic and very accessible introduction to that great document.

Experiments in Reading ( )
1 vote PhoenixTerran | Jan 11, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better primer for bringing the kids, foreigners and forgetful in your life up to speed on the niceties of the supreme law of the USA so that you can have these discussions.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 14, 2008)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Hennesseyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McConnell, AaronIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arthur, JasonCalligraphersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carrow, JenniferCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Before there was a constitution … before there was even a United States of Anerica … “We, the People” were a people at war.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0809094703, Paperback)

Take a look at the Constitution as you've never seen it before in The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation. Writer Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Aaron McConnell describe the creation of Article I with vibrant, detailed graphics and captions that are surprisingly informative. Each image below links to a larger view of the page [PDF].

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:27 -0400)

An introduction to the United States Constitution, presented in graphic form, detailing important people and events in the creation of the founding document, its Preamble, and twenty-seven amendments.

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