Number of Pages: 290
Release Date: January 28, 2000
“In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.
The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes–Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence–Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.”
I read this book over the summer mainly because it was on the list of suggested books to read in preparation for my AP US History class. In elementary school I fell in love with this time period- the late eighteenth century- because it was such an exciting time. it was the aftermath of the Declaration of Independence and the center of the ratification of the Constitution, and so many things were changing all at once! People were high on the victorious Revolution, but there was still tension between the states. Needless to say, I was looking forward to reading this book.
However, I was also sort of apprehensive. Nonfiction books can be pretty dry sometimes, and who wants to be stuck reading a boring book? (No one!) But I am so happy to say that this book was, to quote the Ninth Doctor, FANTASTIC. I’m actually going to go as far as to say that this is definitely one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read!
Joseph J. Ellis is both an amazing writer and an extremely talented historian. He used a lot of big words that I had to look up, but it didn’t take away from the reading or the flow of it. I could easily understand most of it, which is saying something for a girl who doesn’t know all that much about the politics during this time period. The writing itself was witty and actually had me laughing at some points- strange, I know. I can’t believe what an amazing historian he is. By the end of this book all of my thoughts on the Founding Fathers had been scrambled and tangled, and it took me a while afterwards to properly sort them out. Ellis showed sides of these famous men that I had never knew existed. I came to question Jefferson’s morals, adore John and Abigail Adams (I totally ship them! :)), see Washington as a kind of king, and so on. I read about both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant.
Overall, Founding Brothers proved to be an eye-opening, thought-provoking, and fascinating book. If you are interested at all in United States history then I highly recommend this one!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!