Monday, July 19, 2010

by David Howard

The year was 1789. James Madison had just pushed through a Constitution. Citizens were not too happy about it. Freedom of speech and religion were not guaranteed. Back to Congress it went and was debated upon for six days. Finally, the amendments were passed, but they had to be in a separate document. There were fourteen handwritten copies; one for each of the original states and one for the federal government. They would come to be known as the Bill of Rights.
Fast forward to 1865. The Civil War is ending. Robert E. Lee surrenders, Abraham Lincoln is shot, and Sherman's army marches into Raleigh, North Carolina. The Capitol is in shambles. Soldiers have destroyed whatever they could find, which included pillaging, inside the building and have left it in total disarray.
One unknown man walks off with a folded piece of parchment paper.
Lost Rights follows the saga of this document in the course of 138 years. The book is so exciting that it's impossible to put down. The tale involves antique dealers, historians, investors,
manuscript experts, auction houses, attorneys, governors, the FBI, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Phenomenal research (Sources consists of 24 pages) and superb writing makes for one heck of a read.
Highly recommended.