100 Books for America: Founding Brothers

With 90 days until the election, let us continue looking at the 100 books every American should read. These write-ups will be short and not incredibly comprehensive looks at some books and novels that will help you become a better citizen.

If you’ve never read a book about the Founding Era of the United States, you should start with Joseph Ellis. The historian writes quick, accurate and snappy reads about that memorable generation. Check out all of the books that have been picked.

Your best bet is to start with “Founding Brothers,” his Pulitzer Prize-winning effort. We’ll return to Ellis later in this series for two other books.

First, let’s concentrate on this fantastic introduction to the generation.

By focusing on a series of specific events that demonstrate the relationships between. The founders, we get to know them better. Ellis isn’t here to waste our time with Hagiography.

Ellis shows us how the Founders were both brilliant and flawed, starting with The Duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. He follows up with the dinner that took place with Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison that ended up with one of the new country’s most famous bargains.

From there, he talks about the Founders’ silence, showing us how their inability to reconcile their lofty ideals with slavery at the start doomed us to a Civil War.

Next, he hits us with the importance of George Washington’s Farewell Address.

His penultimate chapter deals with the collaborations between John and Abigail Adams, and Jefferson and Madison.

Finally, he shows us how the friendship and rivalry between Adams and Jefferson guided the start of the nation.

Ellis strength is his readability. he’s a great story-teller. He can hook you into reading about this founding.


Previously, we looked at Gideon’s Trumpet. Up next, we get close with a civil rights icon.

Editor’s note. Sincerest apologies for hitting this one a day late. I didn’t realize I never scheduled it.

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