Townhouse Books

Friday, September 16, 2005

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation: Joseph J. Ellis

As it turns out, A People's History of the Supreme Court is becoming quite a long haul. But Founding Brothers is a fun and well-researched book, offering a great read plus historical accuracy. Fills my need for civics education without overwhelming me. The major premise of this book is that, although we see it as inevitable, the success of the American Revolution was by no means assured in the minds of its major players. The book gets into various arguments and personality clashes between Madison, Adams, Hamilton, Washington, and others, showing how this group of founders often had vastly different conceptions of what the Revolution really stood for. It's a deconstruction, to be sure, but done in a chatty style.

I have to admit, though, that the author's discussion of slavery made me uncomfortable. If anyone else has read it, let me know what you think -- I felt like he was being a little too understanding of the Constitutional Congress' inability to face the issue.

ETA: You know, like, author information.

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3 Comments:

  • Is it making you want to do the Freedom Trail?

    By evt1618, at 10:34 AM  

  • Heh. No.

    I walked a bit of the Freedom Trail with my parents and found out that all the really cool stuff (Old State House, Paul Revere's house, cannoli), you gotta pay for.

    By lillygog, at 4:33 PM  

  • I recently saw the author speak on C-SPAN, and he's a great speaker. And he made the point that we really can't judge people living in the 1700s by the morals of today. Intellectually I know this, but emotionally it's still strange to read about slavery as an intractable political problem rather than incredibly destructive force of evil.

    At any rate, I just wanted to suggest people check out his other books / speeches / appearances, too.

    By a.rust, at 10:51 AM  

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