Thursday, May 2, 2013

Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

The Revolutionary Generation is filled with men and women who sometimes attain a semi-divine status. Mythologies have sprung up around our founders that sometimes make it hard to see these great figures as human. In the last century historians seemed to take an iconoclastic pleasure in trying to tear down these images. More recently a group of historians have come to the front on by finding a middle ground. Writers like David McCullough, Joseph Ellis, Jon Meacham, and others recognize that their subjects are human, but they also recognize that these humans accomplished great things and should be respected for their greatness.

This volume is not a history of those Founding Brothers or of the young nation. Instead it is a series of segmented stories that look at certain key moments in the lives of these men. The episodes serve to show how the United States was brought into being by these men. They had different ideas of what the United States meant. The genius of this story is not that one set of ideas prevailed, but rather that differing visions could work alongside and in competition. That is the genius of the United States. The ability to dialogue about what it means to be a nation of liberty.

There are so many great men featured here. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and a cast of others. This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to learn more about the crafting of the United States.

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