What We Are Reading Today: Creating a Constitution

Updated 03 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Creating a Constitution

Author: Federica Carugati

We live in an era of constitution-making. More than half of the world’s constitutions have been drafted in the past half-century.
Yet, one question still eludes theorists and practitioners alike: How do stable, growth-enhancing constitutional structures emerge and endure?
In Creating a Constitution, Federica Carugati argues that ancient Athens offers a unique laboratory for exploring this question, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
Because the city-state was reasonably well-documented, smaller than most modern nations, and simpler in its institutional makeup, the case of Athens reveals key factors of successful constitution-making that are hard to flesh out in more complex settings.
Carugati demonstrates that the institutional changes Athens undertook in the late fifth century BCE, after a period of war and internal strife, amounted to a de facto constitution.
The constitution restored stability and allowed democracy to flourish anew.


What We Are Reading Today: Escalante’s Dream

Updated 19 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Escalante’s Dream

Author: David Roberts

Famed adventure writer David Roberts re-creates the extraordinary 1,700-mile journey of the 18th-century Domínguez-Escalante scouting expedition.
In this adventure-history, Roberts travels the Spaniards’ forgotten route, using Escalante’s first-person report as his guide. Blending personal and historical narrative, he relives the glories, catastrophes, and courage of this desperate journey.
“The places that the Spaniards went were sometimes incredibly inaccessible. Some still are to this day, which is as it should be. There should be places left where people don’t go, that keep their secrets,” said a review in goodreads.com.
In a review for The New York Times, critic Philip Connors said Roberts “knows his Southwestern history, and he knows how to craft an artful sentence. The one thing he doesn’t appear to know is just how cranky he sounds when people he meets along the way don’t share his Escalante enthusiasm, including the woman running a visitor center in Jensen.”
Roberts is the award-winning author of 29 books about mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology.
His most recent publication, Alone on the Wall, was written with world-class rock climber Alex Honnold.