A 50s-era guide to the American Constitution gets a new lease on life.
Over sixty years ago Stanford University Press published what quickly became a definitive (and lively) illustrated guide to the U.S. Constitution; a book of enduring charm entitled Your Rugged Constitution. Moving methodically from Preamble to the 22nd Amendment, the book offers a line-by-line explanation of the Constitution’s original text with concise and accessible commentary. Originally intended to be used as a textbook, it became a classroom standby for a generation of young Americans, surviving on school syllabi until well into the 1970s.
By the turn of the millennium, however, the book had fallen into relative obscurity (well, save for a handful of wistful Amazon reviewers). Long buried in the Press’ archives, it wasn’t until recently, when the Press’ backlist was being scanned for Google, that Director Alan Harvey took notice of the book—along with all its myriad editions and translations. Struck by its novelty, he asked then Law Editor (now Editor-in-Chief), Kate Wahl if she would want to reprint it. Though the will was there, at the time, printing technology was such that a full-color reprint of the book would not have been cost-effective, yet a black-and-white version would hardly do justice to the book’s many illustrations. “But now,” says Harvey, “we can afford to print it in color and make it cool.”