Nineteen-year-old Oliver Huggins is in for the tutorial of his life. For twelve afternoons, Claire St. John, a beguiling British graduate student, will reveal to him the untold story of American Constitutional history. Her message: that the Constitution was illegally written, and that its authors' inability to agree on a name for the republic muddied the document's meaning for decades to come. Through these "tutorials", de Grazia also explodes the myth of the selfless American patriot, revealing our most revered heroes for the complex and conflicted characters they really were. Abraham Lincoln is cast as more of a self-serving lawyer than the Great Emancipator. Chief Justice John Marshall is charged with endowing the Supreme Court with powers the Founding Fathers never intended. Henry David Thoreau is portrayed as more of an anarchist than a meditative nature lover. And as St. John and Oliver delve further into the true story of the Constitution, their relationship gains momentum, revealing itsown surprises. Mischievous, artful, and informative, Pulitzer Prize-winner Sebastian de Grazia's A Country with No Name is an inventive composite of history and literature.
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February 22, 1999
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