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Whatever Happened to Justice? Review by Laura DelgadoRichard J. Mayberry
A Bluestocking Guide: Justice
(To Be Used Together)
P.O. Box 1014
Placerville, CA 95667-1014
Homeschoolers and devotees of the Founders everywhere love a certain Uncle Eric. He has advised his nephew Chris on everything from economics, to political ideology, to history and allowed the rest of us to read over Chris’s shoulder as he grows in wisdom. Of course, Uncle Eric is really author, lecturer, and geopolitical analyst Richard J. Maybury writing under the guise of Uncle Eric, but don’t tell my kids that! Uncle Eric has a special place in their hearts! Whether you are already a lover of the Uncle Eric books, or if this is the first time you have heard of them, I am happy to tell you that Whatever Happened to Justice? is just as fabulous as its Uncle Eric predecessors. Further, A Bluestocking Guide to Justice makes using Whatever Happened to Justice? in your homeschool even easier than it already was.
Whatever Happened to Justice? covers many topics. Essentially, though, it is a primer on law and justice from the perspective of the Founders. It introduces students to Common Law principles (on which the Founders drew heavily in their construction of our Constitution). There is so much that is wonderful and valuable in this book that it is hard to narrow it down, but, for me, several chapters stand out. First, the chapter entitled “How Do We Know If It’s Law?” cites Blackstone and gives seven tests that a custom should pass before being deemed to be considered as a law. This one half-page is more informative on the topic than entire chapters that I have read in graduate political science courses. Second, the chapter entitled “Natural Rights” should be required reading for all citizens. The sentence, “Your intentions cannot repeal Natural Law” should be stenciled on the House and Senate chambers, as this lesson is one that many of our representatives seem either to have forgotten or never to have learned. If one were to read nothing else in this book, this one chapter makes it worth the price. Finally, the chapter entitled “So Why Do We Have A Government?” is pure gold. Again, this chapter contains wisdom that I did not gain until graduate school. Maybury writes, “They [the Founders] deliberately made the government slow and stupid.” I don’t know how many times I have tried to explain this to people (in slightly more political-sciencey language)! How wonderful to be able to point people I know to a book written at the level of children, rather than referring them to academic studies and graduate level texts (the only sources of which I am aware that make this same point)!
Of course, everything in this book is well worth your student’s (and your) attention, and A Bluestocking Guide to Justice ensures that you will not miss anything in the text! The Bluestocking Guide begins with a very valuable “How-To” that gives you suggested time frames for the assignments, explains the purpose of each, and provides parameters for acceptable answers (for example, True/False questions are not the easy dichotomies they may first appear!). The How-To also includes a grading rubric. The guide then proceeds chapter by chapter. Most chapters follow the same format, although not every chapter contains every section listed here. The sections are as follows: Define, Short Answer/Fill-In/True or False, Discussion/Essay/Assignment, For Research, Further Reading, To View.
Given how short the chapters of Whatever Happened to Justice? are, adding the Bluestocking Guide fleshes out the book and makes it more of a curriculum. Also, because there are so many different kinds of questions and assignments, there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to assignments. The questions under the section “Discussion/Essay/Assignment” can be used in multiple ways. They can be assigned as written work, but they can also be used for discussion purposes. Some questions could be used both ways, first for discussion, and then taken further as a writing assignment. For all questions with objectively correct answers, answers are provided in the back of the guide.
Whatever Happened to Justice? retails for $17.95 and A Bluestocking Guide to Justice retails for $15.95. Both books would make an excellent addition to a government program, but they would also complement an American history program or a philosophy program. Richard Maybury’s book also makes for a great read-aloud or a great independent study. Really, any way you can fit this book into your school day is great! It is one of the best Uncle Eric books yet, and that’s high praise indeed.
—Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016