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A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  483 ratings  ·  102 reviews
A rich narrative portrait of post-revolutionary America and the men who shaped its political future.

Though the American Revolution is widely recognized as our nation's founding story, the years immediately following the war—when our government was a disaster and the country was in a terrible crisis—were in fact the most crucial in establishing the country's independence. T
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 20th 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 2002)
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45th out of 139 books — 57 voters
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48th out of 64 books — 16 voters

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Short (view spoiler). Large font. Easy reading. I would say ideal for schools and students, what with the texts of the Articles of Confederations and the Constitution of the United States as well as potted biographies of all the delegates to the constitution convention at the end of the book. You can virtual taste the teacher using this book to set some compare and contrast questions. Alas reviews from the gener ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Brittany rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who hate themselves
Recommended to Brittany by: APUSH teachers
Shelves: school
I haven't even started this, but we better all be getting a good teacher (Mrs. Lara) in exchange for our troubles with Euro and now this stupid book.

Update on Day of Completion:
I have some white cotton that I bought about a year ago. It's about enough to make three gloves, so I'm going to need two assistants. One of said assistants should find out where one Carol Berkin lives. The second is to be in charge of poison research. I can check up on her medical history to further aid the poison resear
This book, “A Brilliant Solution” by Carol Berkin was by far the most horrible book I have read in my entire life! I hated reading this book. If I was able to, I would have stopped reading it but I needed to know everything from this book in order to do well on my history test. However, not a single thing from this book has enhanced my knowledge. The chapters were extremely lengthy and super boring. Additionally, the text was hard to comprehend. I would easily lose my attention and forget what I ...more
Katie Bearor
A 50-page book that was painfully and pointlessly expanded into a 300-page book full of useless descriptions and erroneous statements.

A must-read, though, if you truly want to waste hours of your time reading grammatically incorrect, verbose sentences telling you about the color of Roger Sherman's suit, which was apparently poorly fitted and a dull shade of black.

Two stars rather than one simply because there is some decent information buried amidst all the verbiage.

If this is assigned to you
Jul 10, 2014 Yasmin added it
A Better Solution: don't read this book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A Brilliant Solution : Inventing the American Constitution
by Carol Berkin
Publisher: Harvest Books, 320 pgs

There are countless history textbooks that tell of the Constitutional Convention. The are plenty of accounts and information about what was put into the creation of our constitution. The constitution is the foundation of our government and a lot of times we don't know exactly how it was created. Like most people, talking about the constitution and how our government was creat
After reading this book, I learned more about how the governments work. Before reading this book, I didn’t know that making a convention would take forever and it wasn’t even a perfect convention. This book is different from the other history books I read because it provides many details and how each delegates in the convention wanted to achieve. Unlike this book, many history text books didn’t go into what really happened in the convention, they only show the results and some main events.
In t
"A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution", by Carol Berkin took an intriguing outlook on the ways the founding fathers had constructed The Constitution. It talks of how America was weak when it was under the Articles of Confederation, and that a change was necessary and dire. Many "Men of 'Ability, Weight, and Experience'" (Chap.3) had gathered and were considered "demigods" (Chap.3)in order to set up a new constitution. I found it helpful and interesting how Carol Berkin name ...more
LOVED IT! This is without a doubt my favorite history book! I enjoyed reading about the creation of the republic completely forgetting that the book is meant for education and is filled with facts! The author did astounding job with intermingling facts into the story line making the reading very interesting. What I have learned from this reading was that for every action there is a reason, for every outcome and problem there is a solution, except in some cases the solution may not seem as clear ...more
At first glance to Carol Berkin’s a Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution I felt uneasy. I predicted it was going to be reading a short “textbook”. To be honest I was correct. Unfortunately I am not an American History fan so this might be the reason behind my lethargic attitude while reading this book. Berkin did a lovely job detailing the foundation of how the American Constitution was written and constructed. I found it funny how she began her book with stating how she felt ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Seamus rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like historical books
Recommended to Seamus by: Ms. Moore
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Sep 25, 2008 Eileen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in humanizing the sainted
One of the best books I've read in US history. Berkin has done a comprehensive study of the personalities and life circumstances of all the fellows at the Constitutional Convention in Philly in 1788. She describes the setting: an unusually hot and muggy summer, an infestation of black flies that required keeping the windows boarded up (this is pre-window screens), and light only from candles. Men coming and going from the event as they all had lives going on at home or in business. The hotels an ...more
Yan Kadouri
A Brilliant Solution by Carol Berkin is such a great book because it explores how our great nation that we have today was made possible by this men who had this idea to create a government were the people would have rights to bring change to their country.But also Carol Berkin does such a good job in actually getting inside the heads of the characters to see what their view is of this new government but also to see how it brings change to their lives also she does a good job on showing how the n ...more
While only having read the first seven chapters, I really enjoyed this book. It not only explained the big events in American history, it goes into further detail and gives explanations on the people involved in writing the Constitution. While the task at hand seemed simple, it was in fact very difficult to agree on what exactly would become of the Unites States. The delegates chosen form each state had a difficult time agreeing on one single point that varied from what powers the president shou ...more
Mohammed Hussian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the book, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, Carol Berkin first describes the situation of America after its independence from former mother country, Britain, was established. “British political oppression, with its treat to natural rights and traditional liberties, had come to an end…” (Berkin 12). Now that America was finally free and independent, people needed to lay the groundwork for a new government. By calling for a constitutional convention, delegates from diff ...more
Amanda B.
Nov 11, 2008 Amanda B. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in American History
This book was assigned to me as a summer reading assignment from my AP US History class. Berkin’s told the story of the up-and-coming American Constitution and its final product. She was able to re-enact the events that occurred throughout the process. Being that it was assigned for my history class, I thought it would be more like a textbook than an actual story. The way in which Berkin’s chose to write this account made it seem much more realistic, keeping me interested. Berkin’s book specific ...more
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A Brilliant Solution by Carol Berkin was a great rendition of the events that led to the founding fathers that developed the United States constitution. Carol represented the fifty-five delegates to the convention, as real people, as men of their time, and as men of the hierarchical eighteenth century. They did not discuss any need to end slavery or equality for women. Jefferson, at the time, described the framers as "demigods,” which Carol then explained, might not have been the case. Carol sho ...more
I’m really glad that I read the book because the book is really good and trust me if you read it you would love it too. I don’t know why some people hate it so much because this book explain so many things about the Constitution and how it was establish. I think it was very interesting, it talked about the Constitution and how it came to be established after many debates. I learned so many things, such as how all the delegates came together and decide what to do about setting up the Constitution ...more
Eliza Brittni
Dec 20, 2010 Eliza Brittni rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History lovers
Recommended to Eliza Brittni by: Ms. Moore
“A Brilliant Solution” was a book read for American history class. It was used as an alternative to a textbook in learning about post American Revolution and all the forms of Government. The articles of confederation was mentioned and how it was unstable so our founding fathers got together and created the constitution. When I learned about this experience in American history years ago I had no idea it took so long and that there were so many complications. This book opened my eyes to what happe ...more
Zachary Marciano
This book has revolutionized the way I now look at the founding fathers and the many established political figures in the eighteenth century period of America. Carol Berkin does an amazing job documenting and telling the dignified story of how the Constitution came to be. She describes the many hardships and long grueling hot summer months at the Constitutional Convention in which she describes and recounts the drastic and heated arguments at the Convention to decide the fate of the newly founde ...more
This book talked about the Constitution and how it came to be established after many debates. I learned that Alexander Hamilton sparked the Constitutional convention , and James Madison was also a major part of the convention. I learned that states that wanted state sovereignty didn't support the convention, states like Rhode Island and New York. Overall I learned a whole lot from this book, but one thing I'd change is the way the author puts so many details , that makes me forget the main purpo ...more
Samantha Sun
This book was very good! It contained a lot of valueable information and it definatily expanded my knowledge of the creation of the Constitution. I never understood exactly how it was created but this book helped me realized the troubles of creating a set of "rules" for one whole country. It also made me understand more of the subject because it talked about first hand expieriences of our founding father's and their troubling decisions. What was even more better was that this book was a mini "te ...more
A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution by Carol Berkins was one of the best books I have ever read in a history class. This book shows the details on the creation of the American Constitution how it was formed and how it still shapes and influences the modern world. The part that amazed the most was the fact that many people believe the founding fathers to be heroes of the country when in fact they are truly humans. That is something this book touched upon many times, but it a ...more
Margaret Sankey
Accessible study of the Constitutional Convention, heavy on the message that the founders were not marble saints, but men desperately applying their lawyerly skills to a serious problem and making all kinds of best guesses about what would fly with the voters in the states and work in a practical government.
This book was a great analysis of the invention of the Constitution. It gave an interpretation of the delegates who helped create it and it embodied the era of change they were goin through as a developing country. Though, you don't actually read the Constitution in this book, you witness its creation, step by step. Berkin as an author takes you through the debates that developed between delegates and the formation of political parties. This book was a page-turner, every minute I was able to ope ...more
I am so glad that we don't have to finish this entire book for American History, if we had to I don't think I would've been fully dedicated to it. On average I usually read 30- 40 pages per hour, but while reading this book I felt I could only read 15-20. The pages just seemed to drag on for so long.. and I felt as if there wasn't truly any substance. Instead of just saying what the meetings were about the author had to describe every new person that came into frame and it made no sense to me. W ...more
This is an amazing book. This booked thought me the origins of many key parts of the United States constitution. This book also showed a theme of humanity by presenting anecdotes of various delegates that were present at the constitutional convention. This allowed me to see the delegates as common citizens instead of demi-god’s as portrayed by society. The book also shows a theme of equality, it discusses how delegates debated over equality from State equality to race equality. This book is als ...more
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Reviews by People Forced to Read It 1 3 Sep 27, 2014 09:19PM  
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  • Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
  • General George Washington: A Military Life
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  • Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War
  • Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
  • American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence
  • The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction
  • The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution
  • Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution
  • The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787
  • John Jay: Founding Father
  • Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution
  • Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw It Happen
  • Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution
  • The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
  • An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States
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