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Paperback Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 Book

ISBN: 0345498402

ISBN13: 9780345498403

Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Includes a complete copy of the Constitution.Fifty-five men met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a document that would create a country and change a world. Here is a remarkable rendering of that fateful time, told with humanity and humor. "The best popular history of the Constitutional Convention available."--Library Journal

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A very readable and fascinating analysis of the 1787 Convention

I enjoyed reading this book. In it, the authors explain what happened at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Most enthusiasts of the period know about Madison and Hamilton and that the Convention was convened to write a new Constitution, but what many don't know is that there were many characters besides Madison and Hamilton that attended and held sway. And in bringing to light these other characters the book shines. There are individual chapters on Charles Pinckney, Roger Sherman, William Paterson, Luther Martin, James Wilson, Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, and more. The chapters are written in a lively manner without getting bogged down in details. Collier and Collier give you the "flavor" and most important aspects of each of these characters. There was a lot of "juice". The reading never got dull. There were also many issues that I was totally unaware of, such as the alliance of several southern states with the "big" states, as well as Connecticut's frequent alliance with the southern states. I was surprised that the issue of slavery, 80 years before the Civil War, played such a central role at the Convention. I enjoyed learning how each of the colonies fared during the period of the Articles of Confederation and how this affected their bargaining positions. It was fascinating to learn about the process itself, the vote counting among the representatives, and the pure politics that went on during the Convention. All in all, the book was a very quick, informative, and entertaining read. It also fills a gap, as there is not much in the "popular" press written about the Convention. The book is appropriate for those who have already done some reading on early American history as well as those who take a passing interest.

Great Introduction to Constitutional Convention

This book is a great read for people who wish to learn about the constitutional convention and the trials that that Founders faced in creating our system of government. The book also uncovers the personality traits of many of the Founders who played significant roles at the convention and discusses the disputes that served as stumbling blocks. As a person who is facinated by the U.S. Constitution, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the early stages of learning about it. The book is very accessable and not written in a scholarly fashion which makes it very enjoyable as well as educational.

History In Philadelphia

Last summer, before attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, I read this work to get a perspective on the city's past and present. Although I am a lawyer, I was unaware of all of the compromises and contentions that went into the forming of the US Constitution. Fortunately, the book is not written chronologically. Rather, the authors deal with their topics issue-by-issue: the separation of powers, the role of the House and the Senate, etc. This provides an even, uninterrupted flow to the narrative. It also helped in December when I reread the sections on the electoral college. Anyone interested in the framers' intent during last year's political circus should buy this book.

The most readable history of the Constitutional Convention

The Collier brothers are an amazing act. Authors of the classic children's novel, "My Brother Sam is Dead," they also carry on careers individually as a history professor and writer on jazz respectively. "Decision in Philadelphia" is the story of the Constitutional Convention from start to finish. Told with novel-like drama and narrative flow, this is the first choice for any general reader who wants to know more about the issues driving our country's second national government (the first, the Articles of Confederation, had failed miserably). Very readable, and very interesting, "Decision in Philadelphia" is a book I have my own AP US History students read for its depth of knowledge and ease of reading (although I wouldn't recommend it for anybody lower than high school, unless exceptionally precocious and obsessed with history). All in all, one of the great popular histories available on any subject.


Giving great insight not only into the convention but also into the men who attended it, the Colliers provide a fascinating glimpse into one of the most important events in American history. The book is written so that any level reader would enjoy it, but at the same time gives accurate detail on the proceedings of the convention and the crucial moments at which our Constitution almost didn't come to be. By far, the best account of the Consitutional Convention I've read!!
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