There has rarely been a more appropriate time for a book tracing the history and contemporary interpretation of the ten articles comprising the Bill of Rights. While various citizens' groups claim individual Articles in support of their positions, very few of us are sufficiently versed in either the framers' intentions or the Article's subsequent history and interpretation to argue either for or against them knowledgeably. Gun possession, freedom of speech, religious freedom, executive power, government surveillance - what exactly was the intent of the framers? What are the arguments surrounding them today? How did we get from that original intent to where we are now? This lively history of the Bill of Rights traces the origin of the first ten Amendments over the span of nearly a thousand years; starting with the philosophical and religious understanding informing them, moving through their creation and meaning for the framers, and leading to their interpretation and disputation today. On the journey there are illuminating and entertaining diversions into the history of literature, religion, film, sports and popular culture. A tour de force of legal scholarship, historical perspective, and cultural allusion, this book belongs on the bookshelf of every citizen, history buff, and lawyer as well as the high school civics student.