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Books by and about 2016 presidential candidates
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Crippled America ,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)
American Dreams,
by Marco Rubio (2015)
Taking a Stand,
by Rand Paul (2015)
Unintimidated,
by Scott Walker (2013)
A Time for Truth,
by Ted Cruz (2015)
One Nation,
by Ben Carson (2014)
Trump/Pence vs. Clinton/Kaine On the Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Living History ,
by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
Between Hope and History ,
by Bill Clinton (1996)
In Harm’s Way ,
by Dr. Jill Stein (2000)
Democrat vs. Republican vs. Green vs. Libertarian,
Four Party's Presidential Nominees On The Issues (2016)
Books by and about 2012 presidential candidates
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

A More Perfect Union
What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties

by Ben Carson & Candy Carson



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 1 full quotes from Ben Carson in the book A More Perfect Union, by Ben Carson.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:

This book is Ben Carson's campaign book for the 2016 presidential race – but it is a very strange campaign book. A typical campaign book outlines the policy prescriptions of the author. Carson instead outlines the United States Constitution, comments on each and every section in great detail, and sometimes offers policy prescriptions related to a section.

Carson's book title refers to the opening phrase in the preamble of the Constitution, "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...." That phrase occupies two chapters of the book: Chapter 3, "We the People," about democracy and the power of the people to vote; and Chapter 4, "In Order to Form a More Perfect Union," about unity of government vs. separation of powers, and what is imperfect about the current union. Carson goes on parsing the rest of the opening sentence of the preamble of the Constitution for four more chapters, and then provides a similarly detailed analysis of each article and amendment of the Constitution.

There sure is a lot of history in this book – which is very strange indeed for a presidential campaign book. Carson is a decent writer, and he does overlay his opinions on the historical details, but do voters really need 13 indexed references to Article 1 (legislative branch) and 9 indexed references to Article 2 (executive branch)? That level of detail feels more appropriate for a textbook in an American History class – a campaign book should focus more on the author's opinions, maybe with some historical details to back it up – Carson has those two priorities reversed.

In fact, the whole book feels like an exercise in Carson studying the Constitution. As if some campaign adviser said, "Your supporters consider you a Constitutional scholar, so write a book about the Constitution," and Carson followed that advice by sitting down with a copy of the Constitution and annotating it. In great detail. And then made those notes into this book. Carson's Tea Party supporters DO think of him as a Constitutional scholar, so maybe this book appeals to those supporters – but it sure has a lot of history that seems irrelevant to daily decisions about whom to vote for.

For example, chapter 2, entitled "History of the Constitution," spends 19 pages detailing the history of the Constitution. Those 19 pages have only minor mentions of what Carson actually thinks about it all. Like on p. 14, Carson describes the religious backgrounds of several of the Constitutional framers – then makes his policy point that "even though the Constitution never mentions God, it was steeped in a Christian understanding of politics." That is a valid policy point relevant to the current presidential race – but to make that point, Carson researched the religious beliefs of several framers, which is of questionable relevance today.

Similarly, Carson spends several pages (pp. 14-19) discussing the professions of the framers of the Constitution. It's difficult to discern the relevant policy point in this section – except that there is a subsection entitled "Doctors" and no subsection entitled "Lawyers." Carson, a medical doctor, points out that several of the Constitutional framers were medical doctors, and the reader perhaps is supposed to surmise that there were far fewer lawyers than we find in Congress today. I guess that's a valid point, but Carson leaves it to the reader to infer the actual point.

Overall, we at OnTheIssues do wish that every candidate wrote a book like this, outlining their policy stances and the underlying basis for each one. Most don't. Carson's method for outlining his policy stances is tedious to read and embedded in way too much historical detail – but at least he DOES it!

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, May 2016

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
War & Peace
    FactCheck: Yes, Congress declared war after 9/11, sort of.


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The above quotations are from A More Perfect Union
What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties

by Ben Carson & Candy Carson
.

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Page last edited: Jun 13, 2016