Signing Their Rights Away
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Signing Their Rights Away

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Unfold Book Jacket for a Full-Color Reproduction of the U.S. Constitution

With their book Signing Their Lives Away, Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese introduced readers to the 56 statesmen (and occasional scoundrels!) who signed the Declaration of Independence. Now they’ve turned their attention to the 39 men who met in the summer of 1787 and put their names to the U.S. Co...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Quirk Books (first published June 3rd 2006)
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Nancy
This book was a goodreads giveaway win for me. Signing Their Rights Away is a series of very short biographies of the men who signed the U.S. Constitution. I liked the concept -- learning more about each man involved and their interactions. However, the pieces were too short to give the the reader a real sense of these men. Most were just 3 or 4 pages long. Once the authors covered the basics of of birth, marriage, children, profession and death, there wasn't much space to cover their personalit...more
Lori Tatar
'Signing Their Rights Away' is an excellent Cliff Notes type of book, quickly highlighting the important aspects of the lives of the men who signed the United States Constitution. Some are famous, some not-so-famous and some more infamous than anything else. I will certainly look at current day politics a little bit differently as it seems they are no better...or worse...than they were during the early days of our country. It is awesome to see the things that have stood the test of time, and tho...more
Mike K
This book was very good for what it was, and excellent for what it turned into. As a source of short biographies of each of the signers of the US Constitution, it was interesting. It gave very short(generally 3-4 pages) overviews of who thought what and where they fell in the big states vs small states debate. It also taught me that if you wanted your mortal remains to remain in one place after death, it was probably best to not have signed this document. Chances are your bones would've been mov...more
Laura
Argh! I had the review written but then my cat decided she wanted to type and erased what I'd written!

I received this book as a GoodReads giveaway; I signed up for the giveaway because I like history. I'm also well-ware that my last government class was the summer of 1986.

The book's organization reminded me of a series I read in upper elementary whose title escapes me. Each brief biography, averaging four pages, is organized according to the state-represented. The length of the biographies shou...more
Rosemarie
After the close of the Revolutionary War the States were very loosely connected by the Articles of Confederation, which provided for a Congress of one representative from each state. This body had authority to negotiate foreign treaties, fight wars, and settle territorial disputes. It elected its own president without the necessity of consulting citizens but had no power to raise the taxes necessary to perform its duties. The system didn't work very well.

This book is the brief history, told in...more
Maggie Bryan
As a retired American history/civics teacher, I want to thank Goodreads for the opportunity to review this book which I received in the giveaway program. I still find myself on the lookout for books that I can recommend to people who ask me what they should read to help them understand history more. This book is perfect for those who need a starting place for understanding the dynamics of the Constitutional convention. Each of the biographical sketches are the length of a newspaper article and a...more
Sarah
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Kiernan and D'Agnese's brief but very informative book was right up this history buff's alley. After a brief introduction on the the Convention that produced the United States Constitution, the rest of the book devotes a chapter to each signer of the Constitution, giving a solid biography of each, as well as highlighting their contributions to the Constitution. There are appendices that list the full original text of the Constitution and its Amendments, as well as quick blurbs...more
Cathi Cantrell
Good read, absolutely, so far and extremely interesting too! If only my history classes had been THIS informative and descriptive! I'm currently reading the signers from my own state of Maryland! GREAT stuff!

Following completion of this magnificent read:
I found this book often endearing, always honest in the encounters with the real live men who shaped our country. The writers share enjoyable historical facts bringing each signer to life on it's pages. One could almost smell the suspense & u...more
Patrick Belair
I, received this as a firstreads giveaway, I enjoyed the book very much. It was interesting to read about 39/40 signers of the constition, we know about the famous one's but this told about the infamous as well. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of this country.
Bob
There are very few books that immediately become one of those books that "you just can't put it down".. I am usually reading 5-6 books at any given time, everything from "Does the noise in my head bother you", by Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith to "Making a Democracy work" by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
But this book has turned out to. Be much more than I expected. Who knew that 11 years after the signing of The Declaration of Independence, that our nation was so close to Dissolving?
There wa...more
Chris Johnson
After reading the first book about the signers of the Declaration of Independence I was really excited to read this one when it came out. I was sent a copy of this book and decided to read it over Christmas break because that was the easiest time to read it. It took me about three days and it was incredibly easy read. I found the historical information to be sound and easily understood. The author writes about the 39 men who met in the summer of 1787 and put their names to the U.S. Constitution....more
Cate
This little book, a quick read that you can dip in and out of, is a great introduction to the men who created the United States Constitution. It's written in a modern, breezy style that gives 2 to 4 page biographies of men who altered the course of history. It points out, right away, that this is NOT the Declaration of Independence. That was created by another group of men who changed the course of history. This document defines our system of government and this book contains the entire document...more
Nicole
First, let me confess that I heard about this book on Twitter and had the pleasure of arranging a Q & A session with the authors and my students about the content of this book. That being said, this review is completely unbiased.

Signing Their Rights Away is a history teacher's dream. This witty book gives the details about the Constitution, the Convention and the interesting men who signed the Constitution. No stone is left unturned and all of the signers innermost secrets are revealed. For...more
Oscar
I received this book from a Goodreads First Reads!
Signing Their Rights Away by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese is an amazing collection of short but informative biographies of the men that sat one hot, hellish summer to design and craft what we call the Constitution. The book gracefully summarizes the lives of the signers yet includes fun facts, the men that arrived to the constitutional convention and left before it was done, and much more. The book is cleverly written and thoroughly resea...more
Jessica

Signing Their Rights Away, written by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese, introduces readers to the 39 statesmen (including more than a few wastrels, scoundrels, drunks, debtors, swindlers and others of questionable morality) who met in the summer of 1787 to craft and eventually put their names to a revolutionary document one destined have world-wide repercussions………Americans know this document as the “U.S. Constitution”.

Signing Their Rights Away chronicles a unique moment in United States hist...more
Christine
This book was a fun way to get to know the singers of the US constitution. I'm really happy I was able to win this through the Goodreads first reads giveaway because I'm a sucker for fun history books. For one, I really enjoyed that the book jacket was also a replica of the US constitution. It was a fun aspect of the design of the book that makes it stand out amongst the rest. Each heading of the mini biographies of each signer was their actual signature which is also another neat aspect of the...more
Paula
Great book. Granted some of the biographies are briefer than others. But that's what happens when you have famous men like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton mixed in with others who are not notables to today's world. But all in all, it was interesting to read about all of these men. Many of whom traveled far to serve, and many who had their livelihoods destroyed by war, but came back and started over again when the American Revolution ended.

This is a short book, but it and it's twin about...more
Deborah
This is a well written book that walks a fine line between being informative and entertaining. The book jacket is wonderful - it folds out to be a full-color reproduction of the U.S. Constitution and leaves an interesting faux distressed, faux aged book.

In addition to the mini-biographies, the book contains: an introduction, a Constitutional cheat sheet, a Constitutional timeline, two appendices, a selected bibliography and an index. The second appendix is really another full chapter of miscell...more
Jean
I was glad for the opportunity to read this book through the Good Reads give-away program. This book took me back in time and gave me a greater understanding about the mood of the people at that time. It gave me an awareness of the greatness of the docuemnt that they produced and an appreciation for it. I found the book interesting and enjoyable to read.

I enjoyed the fact that the biographies were short. They gave a sense of each man's personality, strengths and weaknesses without inundating the...more
Tammy
We've all heard of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin but who were the other signers of the Constitution? This book has mini-biographies of each of the 39 signers of the Constitution. These men were just as flawed as the elected officials we have today.Hugh Williamson believed in aliens, Robert Morris went to prison, Jonathan Dayton stole $18,000 from Congress, and Thomas Mifflin was ruined by alcohol.

Also includes a complete text of the Constitution and all it's amendment...more
Jason
Signing Their Rights Away chronicles a moment in American history when our elected officials knew how to compromise—and put aside personal gain for the greater good of the nation. These men were just as quirky and flawed as the elected officials we have today: Hugh Williamson believed in aliens, Robert Morris went to prison, Jonathan Dayton stole $18,000 from Congress, and Thomas Mifflin was ruined by alcohol. Yet somehow these imperfect men managed to craft the world’s most perfect Constitution...more
Ann Murphy
"Signing their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution" is a great witty, historically accurate, succinct follow-up to the same authors' "Signing Their Lives Away, the Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence". Buy it even if you don't have a grandchild or child in elemntary, middle or high-school. I have sent a link to the You-tube promotional video "They[re patriots not Zombies" to my granddaughter's 8th grade h...more
Christopher Obert
It never ceases to amaze me how little I know about the real history of America. In their book “Signing Their Rights Away”, Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese give us the real people, places and events that shaped our Constitution and affect who and what we are as a country today. Kiernan and D’Agnese takes us state by state, signer by signer to give a great look inside the minds of the people that signed the US Constitution, thereby giving us an insight into the Constitution itself. I really li...more
Tracey
This was a very interesting books. I can't say I can remember all of the signers of the Constitution, but I now know how "real" they were! Lawyers, merchants, farmers, crooks, politicians, some lived a long time, some didn't live long after signing the Constitution, and just so many other stories. I would recommend this book for the history buff, or for the person who likes to know the real people of American Historical figures.

....womanizers, financial wizards, not-so-financially lucky, father...more
Susan Jones
This is a book with a short biography of each of the signers of the Constitution, plus the text of the Constitution and some miscellaneous information. Each chapter (signer) is about 3-4 pages and an amazing amount of information is packed in there. Some of the more light-hearted comments actually made me laugh out loud. How can you resist a book with chapter titles such as "The Most Handsome Signer" (starting out "Politics can be ugly--especially when you're pretty"), "The Signer Who Couldn't K...more
Kevin O'Brien
This is not a page turner. What this is really useful for is a bathroom book. Small, digestible chunks that let you read a little and put the book down. What this book does is present brief biographical sketches (around 4-5 pages each) of each of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. This is fine for what it is, and I enjoyed reading it, but don't go into it with the wrong idea. If you go into this looking for a serious work of historical analysis you will be very disappointed. At the end is the...more
Tamara
Witty, educational and entertaining, a combination which can be difficult to find in books about history. Signing Their Rights Away is a collection of brief biographies of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, organized by state. With its format, it is easy to read straight through or jump around as the mood strikes. As an added bonus, the humorously decorated dust jacket unfolds to reveal a reproduction of the Constitution. I am glad I was given an opportunity to win my copy through the Goodrea...more
Cindy
What a great way to familiarize the common American with important leaders in our nation's history! An enjoyable read through and through, the authors did a great job introducing us to the personal and political lives of the signers of the Constitution. I would read this book again, and encourage my kids to read it as well.

I appreciate the research that went into the making of this book. The facts and information were presented clearly with an interesting tone and often a touch of humor. It was...more
Clint Flatt
Great book on these men who served their country in a very challenging time. Many have been lost to history and the heroic deeds they did and sacrifices they made, financially, emotionally and personally to create the greatest government constitution ever written. I believe every political leader should read about these men and aspire to be like them. They would then understand the constitution was not written to be exploited or changed but to be a document that this country can follow as long a...more
Amy
It's not bad. It's just not for everyone. Say, you're trying to interest a teen in the Revolution. Might work.

These attempting-to-be-hip-and-funny mini-biographies of each of the signers of the Constitution are often not enlightening and trying to hard to be funny. For the fellow who was born to a cobbler and started his working life as a cobbler we have no fewer than eight mentions of shoes in a mere four pages, two of those mentions being among the most forced jokes I've heard.

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Denise Kiernan is the author of the New York Times Bestselling nonfiction title, "The Girls of Atomic City" (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster). http://GirlsOfAtomicCity.com).

As a journalist, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Saveur, Discover, Ms., Sports Illustrated for Kids, Conde Nast Sports for Women and others. In addition to her books for...more
More about Denise Kiernan...
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