A debut civics book delivers the basics of American government.
It’s often said that Americans know very little about their own history. How many have actually read the full text of the Constitution, as students or adults? In this handy guide, Mackley aims to remedy that situation and present fundamental knowledge traditionally taught in civics classes. Thus, she includes the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the 27 Amendments in their entirety. For good measure, she provides all four versions of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and all four stanzas of the national anthem. One notable chart compiles a list of U.S. presidents—along with political party, term, date of birth, age upon election, first lady, and vice president—that serves as a quick reference guide for those who wish to become naturalized American citizens or even for trivia buffs who want to brush up on their encyclopedic knowledge. New in this second edition is a 100-question exam, culled from a government website, presented with and without correct answers for the purposes of self-evaluation. In a compendium of this sort that addresses early American history, parameters of inclusion often become an issue; the author recognizes that in-depth accounts of Native American or African-American contributions and experiences will necessarily be found elsewhere. To her credit, Mackley insists that a more interactive approach to learning about history should be enhanced by travel and firsthand contact. Therefore, she provides suggestions regarding historic sites and national parks, many of which hold a direct connection to the events recounted in this volume. Overall, there’s no denying that it is helpful to have all of this information gathered in one place. Still, one wonders whether printed formats such as this one will remain as useful as more and more Americans turn to the Internet to conduct research. Consequently, this book is perhaps more suitable for those who may not be entirely comfortable navigating through online sources.
A valuable resource for a wide array of interested parties, from students to recent immigrants of all ages.