As a charter of freedom the original Bill of Rights of 1791 was woefully in-adequate. Yet through the years, drawing from a variety of sources, it has evolved into the present complex of interpretations. This stimulating study traces that evolution in detail. For the author the cornerstone of the Bill is the First Amendment, with its guarantee of freedom of thought and expression. He devotes a considerable part of the book to the attacks on the amendment, with particular detail on the historical abuses of the English common libel law. Brant's overall conclusion is that ""In the world's history there is nothing to compare with these pledges of human rights and freedom that have been worked into our charter of government at the great moments of history."" The Bill must be vigilantly protected in this age of ""security checks,"" attempted censorship and Congressional investigating committees. Brant has written the well-reviewed six volume biography of Madison and this is a readable book, a good item for students, although its intellectual weightiness will hardly prompt casual browsing.