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American Creation: Book summary and reviews of American Creation by Joseph J. Ellis

American Creation

Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic

by Joseph J. Ellis

American Creation by Joseph J. Ellis X
American Creation by Joseph J. Ellis
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Book Summary

From the first shots fired at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, Ellis guides us through the decisive issues of the nation’s founding, and illuminates the emerging philosophies, shifting alliances, and personal and political foibles of our now iconic leaders—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams. He casts an incisive eye on the founders’ achievements, arguing that the American Revolution was, paradoxically, an evolution—and that part of what made it so extraordinary was the gradual pace at which it occurred. He shows us why the fact that it was brought about by a group, rather than by a single individual, distinguished it from the bloodier revolutions of other countries, and ultimately played a key role in determining its success. He explains how the idea of a strong federal government, championed by Washington, was eventually embraced by the American people, the majority of whom had to be won over, as they feared an absolute power reminiscent of the British Empire. And he details the emergence of the two-party system—then a political novelty—which today stands as the founders’ most enduring legacy.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Ellis's lucid, illuminating and ironic prose will make this a holiday season hit. " - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. A history bound for phenomenal popularity." - Booklist

"Sharply conceived and smoothly executed - a worthy addition to Ellis's already well-advanced project of lucidly explaining the nation's early history to his countrymen." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph J. Ellis received the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers and the National Book Award for his portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, and their youngest son, Alex.

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