A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Thorough review of the Constitution from conception through drafting, approval, amendments, and interpretation by the courts. Includes full text of Constitution and Declaration of Independence, plus a version of the Constitution written in modern, everyday English. Provides extensive historical context and suggestions for further learning, including reading the Federalist Papers and finding out what your family's taxes are spent on.
Democracy requires active engagement to preserve the ideals of the Constitution, otherwise it's just words on parchment. It's important to understand the missteps in the Constitution and American history to understand and appreciate America today. Perfection is an unlikely achievement but a worthy goal, and it's worthy to continue to try to improve. Speak up against injustice, respect the law, and put in the work to be an informed, engaged citizen. Listen to what others have to say and try to find common ground.
Positive Role Models
Khan is a passionate believer in the Constitution and shows great admiration and affection for what it says. His experience shows how influential and meaningful it can be on an intimately personal level.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that This Is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father is an informative, affectionate guide to the U.S. Constitution by Khizr Khan, a Pakistani-born attorney thrust into the national spotlight during the 2016 presidential campaign. Khan, whose middle son was a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq, does not directly address the criticisms he exchanged with then-Republican candidate Donald Trump, but he writes in the introduction that "certain politicians encouraged ugly prejudices" against Muslims. The book discusses the historical context surrounding the writing of the Constitution and points out significant changes since, particularly in areas of social justice (ending slavery, granting women's suffrage, legalizing gay marriage, etc.). Khan explains each section of the Constitution in accessible, modern language and includes personal notes on key pieces that have been especially meaningful to him.
Is It Any Good?
Pakistani-born attorney Khizr Khan brings scholarly understanding and passionate, personal insight to his thorough guide to the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution and how they've shaped America. This Is Our Constitution: Discover America with a Gold Star Father is a useful, though sometimes dense, text, providing a plain-language version of the 18th-century document and a patient explanation of how it has evolved through amendments and legal decisions. Khan excels in bringing to the work his unique perspective as an immigrant drawn to America by the promise of the Constitution and as a father of a soldier killed in Iraq. His affection and admiration for the Constitution help bring the document to life.
Khan finds hope even in the Constitution's "loathsome" failings (preserving slavery, notably, and barring women from voting), because they show its strength as a living document charting America's goal of creating "a more perfect union."
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