Many historians have written of this particular ""miracle,"" the framing of the Constitution by an assortment of delegates...

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MIRACLE AT PHILADELPHIA

Many historians have written of this particular ""miracle,"" the framing of the Constitution by an assortment of delegates from twelve stubborn and independent states, but never has the tale been told more vividly than in this book by one of America's foremost biographers. (Because of corrupt internal politics Rhode Island was not represented at the Convention.) ""Miracles do not occur at random,"" the author states in her foreword, nor did this one, which answered the desperate need of a new country floundering in political chaos for a workable form of self-government. The Convention, sanctioned by Congress, met in Philadelphia late in May, 1787; after three months of debate, argument, heart-break and ""not very noble compromise"" the document was completed, to the surprise of everyone, and sent to the states for ratification. Stressing personalities rather than politics, the author writes: ""It is my desire that my readers may see the delegates as they arise and address the chairman (Washington), or face each other in committee; above all, I want to call back their voices."" And here they all are, seasoned politicians, orators and governors, sweating it out in the heat and flies of the worst summer Philadelphia had known for decades. Washington, silencing angry delegates by his own gift of silence; gout-ridden Franklin in his sedan chair; Hamilton the nationalist, loathed by advocates of state sovereignty; Madison, who missed not one season of the Convention, and helped frame the Constitution; suave Edmond Randolph of Virginia with the ""Virginia Plan"" on which the final document was based -- and the rest of them, fat, thin, silent, talkative men who together made a nation. A Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and a fine re-telling of a story too often overloaded with solemnity.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1966

ISBN: 0786107103

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966