Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Magna Charta, James Daugherty

The Magna Charta, James Daugherty
(1956; 1984, Beautiful Feet Books), pb. 181 pp.

This is another book we bought because we found it in the Veritas Press Catalogue. The backcover blurb notes that the author is a Newberry Award winner. However, this was not a compelling book. The book starts like a textbook relating data rather than telling a story. It told us information that we had already learned (almost without realizing it) while reading good stories. However, this format was much less enjoyable to read.

Eventually the book settles into more of a story format as it relates the story of King Richard and the eventual rise to power of his brother King John. The story gets better here, but does not rise to the level of other good books we have read. The importance of the topic is clear, but such an important story deserves to be told better.

Lastly, the book continues to trace what the author thinks is the continuation of the trajectory of the Magna Charta. One’s own understanding of politics and principles will be key here in what you make of the book. Daugherty sensibly connects the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence to the Magna Charta. However the connections to transnational agreements (some not even affirmed by governments) is less than compelling.

In the end, I would say you could safely give this book a pass.


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