Encyclopedia of World Constitutions (Facts on File Library of World History) Gerhard Robbers
ISBN: 0816060789, 9780816060788
According to the introduction, every nation has a constitution or a set of documents that serves as one. In each of these, the fundamental "rules" of the country--the defining principals of its government--are laid out in one form or another. It would be difficult to make any other generalizations concerning these documents and the information they contain. Each is unique in itself, while performing a similar function. The very nature of the material makes it challenging for a casual or inexperienced researcher to make comparisons.
This set, in a sense, deconstructs these constitutions in a straightforward style. Entries for 194 countries are arranged A-Z. The articles for each country are signed and in many cases are written by scholars who specialize in the country they are writing about. The structure of each article follows a pattern designed to make it easy to compare information from one country to another. Each begins with a small collection of information about the country: name, capital, languages spoken, ethnic composition, type of government, and date of constitution, among others. A brief overview of the country is followed by standard subsections: "Constitutional History," "Form and Impact of the Constitution," "Basic Organizational Structure," "Leading Constitutional Principles," "Constitutional Bodies," and so on. Articles range from 4 to 13 pages in length, and each concludes with links to the text of the constitution in its original language (and, if needed, an English translation) and secondary sources for further reading.
At the end of volume 3 are several useful appendixes. One gives the same kind of constitutional information for the European Union, and the second provides a list and description of "Special Territories" such as Antarctica, the Cook Islands, Guam, and the Isle of Man. The third is a glossary of terms.
This is a useful reference source, essential for academic and large public libraries and any collection stressing international politics. Danise Hoover
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