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Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Founding Brothers

The Revolutionary Generation

by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Critics' Opinion:
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  • First Published:
  • Oct 1, 2000
  • Paperback:
  • Feb 2002
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Reviews

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There are currently 186 reader reviews for Founding Brothers
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Todd

One of the best political/history books I have ever read
This book is a real treasure. It puts current events into perspective. I hear people talking about "the good ole days" of politics and political cooperation and insist they read this book.
AlexisDT

Amazing book!
To the negative reviewers I would ask a question. What is the theme of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation?
DougO

Character Matters- Then and now!
Highly recommend Founding Brothers, this is a great read. An honest and mature presentation of the challenges our Founding Fathers faced creating America after the Revolution. You will get to know the founding fathers as individuals, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. They often made policy up as they went along; each understanding the importance of compromise if America was to be given the opportunity to stand on untested wobbly legs. The States were apprehensive about creating any centralized form of government with the authority to tell them what to do; after all hadn't they just fought and won the right to be free of England. Complex issues like slavery had to be dealt with carefully or not at all if the Union was to be preserved. The initial chapter covering the Burr- Hamilton duel could put you off as Ellis includes too much unnecessary detail. Once Ellis hits his stride with Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison you will find yourself sitting along side these great men as they struggle to transform the idea of an American democracy into a reality.
Jake

This book is not written at the 8th grade level...
I found the book very compelling and inspiring. I am a veteran and a student of history. Though the book was a challenging read, I found it much more enjoyable than most texts written to accommodate students who are lacking in reading skills. You want boring? Try reading Naval engineering manuals. If I do not have to search for the definition of a word in any book I read then it was a waste of my time. I found the chapter "The Friendship" the most inspiring, the story of Jefferson and Adam's friendship overcoming their political differences.
Don G.

If you only knew what you don't know.
Ellis' book is a great read. People who read it with the idea that history is a noun, full of facts, dates, people, and places, miss the point. Ellis intends us to look at history as a verb, the inquiry, not the things, but the relationship between the things. Ellis isn't trying to tell us about Hamilton or Jefferson, he is trying to tell us about the relationship between these two powerful men that led to a historic compromise. As a former AP US History I can appreciate some student's frustration, but I often feel we waste real good history on young people.
founding bros

Just because I am VERY interested in History
I have never read such a challenging book in my young life before but after the first few pages, the style and essence of Ellis' writing really hit me as eloquent, intriguing, and insightful. I believe that this book is the right choice for someone who likes to be challenged and at the same time, is engrossed in all the stories and people history has to offer us.
KLeigh

Excellent Insights into the Revolutionary Generation
Certainly a college level book (and therefore appropriate for an AP class). I read this for a basic college government class, and was totally surprised. Yes, the language is hard to understand at first, but I just used the dictionary and reread until I understood. I'm used to fast reading and had to slow way down for this one, but it was worth it! It is obvious the author spent a lot of time perusing first hand sources from the Revolutionary Era and really tried to bring to life the thoughts, fears, and desires of the "Founding Brothers." It brings perspective and clarity to the choices and compromises of the era. The intro had some great insights as well about the relation of past and present politics.
Ivana Vilinsky

Foolish People
I am sorry but I am majoring in political science and history, and yes at first it was slow but when all was said and done the book uncovered the side of history not told in our history books. You must have an appreciation for our history and for truth. The truth must be told even if some find it boring and others disregard it. It deserves its award and the readers respect.

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