Joseph J. Ellis is one of the nation's leading scholars of American history. The author of nine books, Ellis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award for American Sphinx, a biography of Thomas Jefferson. His in-depth chronicle of the life of our first President, His Excellency: George Washington, was a New York Times bestseller.
Ellis' newest book, The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, was released in Spring 2015.
Ellis has taught in the Leadership Studies program at Williams College. He previously taught at the Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He lives in Amherst, MA with his wife, Ellen Wilkins Ellis and three dogs. He is the father of three sons.
Joseph Ellis's website
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A Conversation with Joseph Ellis author of Founding Brothers
What made you decide to follow your award winning biography of Thomas
Jefferson with Founding Brothers and what kind of research went into this
After I finished my last two books, on John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, I realized that I had read much of the correspondence produced by the founding generation. I did have to go through the Washington letters, and read the Burr correspondence, but otherwise I had pretty much started a new book on the entire group of founders without quite knowing what I was doing. And throughout those letters, they kept referring to each other as a "band of brothers." We think of them as Founding Fathers, but they saw themselves as a fraternity. I should add that my title fails to include the one sister in the group, Abigail Adams, whom I think was an equal partner in her husband's political career.
You open the book with the sentence, "No event in American history which was so improbable at the time has seemed so inevitable in retrospect as the American Revolution." How so?
We regard the success of the American Revolution as inevitable because we have lived so long as a nation, over two hundred years, with the ...
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