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Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Joseph J. Ellis
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5. Februar 2002
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.

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  • Taschenbuch: 304 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: Reprint (5. Februar 2002)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0375705244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375705243
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: 14 - 18 Jahre
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,9 x 13,9 x 1,7 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 13.147 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? In Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis reveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic.

Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including a secret dinner at which the seat of the nation's capital was determined--in exchange for support of Hamilton's financial plan; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address; and the Hamilton and Burr duel. Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. In a fascinating chapter on the renewed friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the end of their lives, Ellis points out the fundamental differences between the Republicans, who saw the Revolution as a liberating act and hold the Declaration of Independence most sacred, and the Federalists, who saw the revolution as a step in the building of American nationhood and hold the Constitution most dear. Throughout the text, Ellis explains the personal, face-to-face nature of early American politics--and notes that the members of the revolutionary generation were conscious of the fact that they were establishing precedents on which future generations would rely.

In Founding Brothers, Ellis (whose American Sphinx won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1997) has written an elegant and engaging narrative, sure to become a classic. Highly recommended. --Sunny Delaney -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .


“A splendid book–humane, learned, written with flair and radiant with a calm intelligence and wit.”–The New York Times Book Review

“Lively and illuminating…leaves the reader with a visceral sense of a formative era in American life.”–The New York Times

“Masterful…. Fascinating…. Ellis is an elegant stylist…. [He] captures the passion the founders brought to the revolutionary project…. [A] very fine book.”–Chicago Tribune

“Learned, exceedingly well-written, and perceptive.”–The Oregonian

“Lucid…. Ellis has such command of the subject matter that it feels fresh, particularly as he segues from psychological to political, even to physical analysis…. Ellis’s storytelling helps us more fully hear the Brothers’ voices.”–Business Week

“Splendid…. Revealing…. An extraordinary book. Its insightful conclusions rest on extensive research, and its author’s writing is vigorous and lucid.”–St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Vivid and unforgettable . . . [an] enduring achievement.” –The Boston Globe

Founding Brothers is a wonderful book, one of the best . . . on the Founders ever written. . . . Ellis has established himself as the Founders’ historian for our time.” –Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

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In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
THE MOST succinct version of the story might go like this: On the morning of July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were rowed across the Hudson River in separate boats to a secluded spot near Weehawken, New Jersey. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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4.0 von 5 Sternen
4.0 von 5 Sternen
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Von Bert Ruiz
This book is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for good reason. Author Joseph J. Ellis offers intimate portraits of our nation's founding fathers and also a vivid view of the political rivals in our newborn Republic.
Ellis is a terrific writer. History comes alive in this stirring narrative...the action starts in the opening pages with the most famous duel in American history and ends in the final chapter with a glowing review of the fued/friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington are examined in great detail by Ellis. Adams "enlightened diplomacy" negotiated a critical peace treaty with France. Burr is an opportunist and manipulator who was never forgiven for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
Franklin, (who is not given the same attention as others) is a scientific genius who uses the press to attack political enemies, particularly those who were advocates of slavery.
Hamilton restored public credit but also nurtured power for the commercial elite at the expense of the large landowners. Jefferson is the brilliant author of the Declaration of Independance. Madison's nickname in Congress is "Big Knive" for his ability to cut up opposition to legislation he sponsors.
And Washington is the "American Untouchable," a great horseman and pragmatic military man who is clearly not as well read as other leaders of his generation but becomes by far the greatest legend among the people.
The combined talents of the founding fathers provided the intellectual energy that allowed our nation to survive. Ellis is a talented writer, impressive researcher and a towering patriot. Highly recommended.
Bert Ruiz
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Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Anyone who enjoyed David McCullough's biography of John Adams will find this book to be a rewarding companion, which fills in important missing pieces about the foundation and development of the new American republic.

The concept in Founding Brothers is quite original as American history from two perspectives. First, Professor Ellis focuses on how the American revolution was different from colonial revolts before and after, and other attempts to establish republics. Second, he encapsulates his points around six themed incidents and relationships, built on Lytton's Strachey's example in Eminent Victorians.

The book's primary thesis is that it is the political leaders of the American revolution who were the essential difference in the creating the new nation's initial, and unprecedented, success. Professor Ellis focuses attention in the book primarily on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Abigail Adams.

In each of six vignettes, you get a new perspective on what happened from afar in space and time, and a refined view of what happened in detail by examining the situation from many perspectives.

The book opens with the Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton duel.

Washington and Franklin come across the best in the book, particularly in acting in ways that were principled, disinterested and competent. For example, both of them realized that slavery was inconsistent with the revolutionary principles.

I came away convinced by Professor Ellis's point that the self-awareness of playing a historical mission was critical.

After you finish enjoying the what if considerations in Founding Brothers concerning the American revolution, I suggest that you think about where a principled and supportive role could make a difference in what you do and care about.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Not bad. 30. November 2004
Von David
Whether you should read this book depends on what you are seeking: If you are looking for an academic history this probably isn't the best book. But if you are interested in the American Revolution and the Constitution and the actors surrounding these two events, and you would like a book that reads like a novel, that asks some interesting questions, and is generally a quality popular history then I would certainly recommend this book. It especially gives you a nice feel for the characters that Americans call the "Founding Fathers." I enjoyed it; it also makes excellent bus or S-Bahn reading.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.1 von 5 Sternen  579 Rezensionen
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Founding Brothers 9. Dezember 2000
Von J. Lindner - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis offers an excellent portrayal of the primary players of post-revolutionary America. The book is extremely readable which makes it appealing to a wide range of readers, yet provides the serious scholar with insightful historical analysis. Ellis establishes his thesis and develops it throughout the book, though , arguably, some chapters are more successful than others.
The book is by design not chronological, but does include detailed analysis of each founding father. Yet the book is not patriotic flag waving. Ellis' style is reminiscent of the consensus historians of the 1950s but with a modern approach. His portrayal shows the founding fathers separated by personalities and differences of opinion, but with the unique ability to set ambitions aside (more or less) to accomplish the nation's business. For instance, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams were both Federalists yet they hated one another, Ben Franklin drew criticism for anti-slavery beliefs, Thomas Jefferson ceased correspondence with George Washington (forever) and Adams (for fifteen years), James Madison and Hamilton divided the government, and Aaron Burr eventually killed Hamilton. But with the exception of this final example all were able to deal with these differences for the good of the country. Ellis illustrates his chapters with masterful synthesis.
There are times when Ellis' theory appears to wander, as with the case of slavery and the official "silence" that governed the subject. In this case the problem did not go away but instead exploded seventy years later in civil war. He also meanders throughout the chapter on Jefferson and Adams to the point that reading becomes tedious, but his overall effort is not adversely impacted.
It is Ellis' ability to synthesize that makes Founding Brothers so appealing. Political rivalries are not the product of recent history. Indeed, they are endemic to every generation of politicians. But Ellis' point is that these differences do not have to permanently scar the nation as a whole. Though he does not say it, this book ought to be required reading for anyone who enters Congress. The message is simple: check individual ambition at the Capitol door and perform the duties they were elected to do. In fact the first paragraph of "The Collaborators" should be the required method for determining presidential races.
Practically anyone who picks up this volume will not be disappointed. Ellis takes a complex period of history with an extremely complicated set of characters, and puts it into a concise, enjoyable format that amuses as well as teaches the reader.
239 von 253 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Damn Good Read 14. November 2000
Von Jeffrey Wolf - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Joe Ellis is well known for his biography of Jefferson (it won the National Book Award). This book, his most recent, will only elevate his reputation.
In a series of historical vignettes, the reader learns about (among other things) the famous but mysterious duel between Hamilton and Burr, the awkward problem of slavery in the 1790s, the collaboration between Madison and Jefferson, George Washington's farewell and the famous relationship between John Adams (who is underappreciated according to Ellis) and Jefferson.
Every vignette reads like a short story. The facts are riveting, the writing (as usual) is lucid, succint and sufficiently surprising. And the historical era of the 1790s can't fail to interest us all.
There's absolutely no reason why this should not be the next book you buy. Get it for Christmas and give it as a gift to someone else. Where else will you learn, with such intelligence and historical insight, how majestic Washington was, how human Adams was, how strange Jefferson's personality was, and how conniving all the politicians were in the salad days of our country?
165 von 174 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very informative 25. Oktober 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Joseph J. Ellis has now made a habit of writing interesting books about the American Revolution and its aftermath. In his latest effort, Founding Brothers, Ellis concentrates on six incidents involving seven of our foremost American patriots. The topics (or chapters) range from slavery and the national debt to the location of the national capital and the disasterous administration of John Adams.
While my favorite chapter deals with the dinner involving Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison. In which the federal government assumed the national debt from the states, for the relocating of the federal government, on the Potomac River. Jefferson and Madison also made sure that, unlike Great Britain or France, the national capital would not be the financial center of the country.
Among the other informative points that Ellis brings up was that Hamilton was the only prominent American casualty of the ideological differences stemming from the decades after the American Revolution. The growing unpopularity of Washington's second administration with other prominent Virginians which culminated with his Farewell Address was also interesting.
Founding Brothers is an exceptionally easy and quick book to read. Ellis repeatedly informs us what the world was like in the 1790's, when there was little historical precedence for a republican style of government or a biracial society.
There were many labrythine agreements made between the founding brothers and Ellis' research is highly commendable in attempting to sort it all out. For anyone interested in the years that followed the ratification of the Constitution and the beginnings of our present day government, this book is a must.
100 von 105 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Fine and Highly Focussed Account 29. März 2001
Von Mark Edward Bachmann - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is a gem, and probably the most focussed piece of historical writing I've ever read. Professor Ellis tells us in his two-page introduction that his objective was to write a "modest-sized account of a massive historical subject", implicitly ragging on his professional colleagues who seem inclined more often towards just the opposite. In just 248 pages he takes on the thirty or so years following ratification of the U.S. Constitution, portraying this period as the most politically treacherous in our nation's history. He focuses primarily on the roles of six protagonists: Jefferson, John Adams, Madison, Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin. Aaron Burr appears too, but as a tragic foil to Hamilton more than as a significant player in his own right. Professor Ellis's technique, odd but effective, is to build six short chapters around various interactions among these key figures, arranging them artfully like a series of inter-connected short stories. Each chapter elucidates a key dimension in the political dynamics of the period, and the emotional impact of the book by the end is like that of a powerful piece of fiction, even though the author's adherence to the factual record is scrupulous. What emerges is a picture of the revolutionary nation facing the kind of crisis that undermines most revolutions as personal ambitions and conflicting agendas give rise to new tyranny or ongoing civil war. At one level, these were a group of jealous and bickering men with diverging views on the direction of the republican government they were laboring to craft. Yet in the end it is these very contradictions which allowed the improbable project to suceed, bringing in the diverse political threads necessary to bind the new nation. For divided as these politicians were, everyone of them was haunted by the fear that the cause to which he'd devoted his life was in imminent danger of failing. The great European powers lurked like vultures waiting to re-assert themselves over the divided States, and the "founding brothers" seemed to recognize that their collective talents provided the only effective bulwark against this treat. Hindsight, of course, tells us much more than they knew, and their triumph was to be sealed only following an unimaginable bloodbath forty years after the last of them died. That the union they built was strong enough to survive such a trauma was the ultimate testimony to their skill and perseverance. Professor Ellis has written an excellent and very accessible account of this complex story, and I highly recommend it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An Exceptional Historian 1. März 2001
Von taking a rest - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
An exceptional book is like an exceptional teacher; an academic career may only provide one or two memorable teachers, while books because of their constant renewal offer many opportunities for memorable Authors/Teachers. Mr. Joseph Ellis has produced just such a literary rarity with his work, "Founding Brothers". The events surrounding The American Revolution are familiar in generalities to most, and the information is generally romanticized beyond recognition. The Author has a very informative as well as a strong, appealing narrative style that communicates a wealth of facts but does not induce the drowsiness of many historical works whose pages turn as if made of lead.
Some have taken issue with the Author's style as being too loose or informal, and by implication arguably less than accurate. The notes at the book's end are not normally an area I spend a great deal of time with, however in this instance the Author shares his philosophy toward providing "sensible" documentation to his book. I believe this is refreshing and answers any critics. Firstly, a complete listing of references would be longer than the book, and a completely honest disclosure would require that he dredge up every piece of information that he has read and been influenced by for 30 years. Finally, he comments on those sources he has found to be particularly useful to his work, and they were interesting enough for a reader to enjoy as well.
Everyone will have their favorite from amongst the six sections of the book. I believe they all are uniformly excellent, however two were of greater interest to me.
"The Duel" that took place between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton in 1804 is an oft-mentioned bit of this Country's History. I have read many accounts of the event and none approach the level of detail and perceptive commentary that Mr. Ellis has presented. This death of one man, and the death of another's career is a vastly complicated event. It is true the actual discharging of weapons took only a moment, and that is usually where the analysis stops, and then the consequences that follow are listed. Happily in this work this is not the case as the Author brings nearly 2 decades of acrimony between these two men to bear on why they eventually found themselves in mortal conflict. This background is documented with depth but also with restraint, all the information without needless additional commentary. Mr. Ellis writes very well. He can enjoy an economical use of words, as he does not suffer from the impairment of being fascinated with the sound of his thoughts.
"The Friendship" has to be one of the most eloquent expositions of the final years of relations between 2 former Presidents, Adams and Jefferson. They may have been writing to one another, however they also documented their ideas of what the Revolution was for and what it meant, that the two men were polar opposites, from their style of speech, to their politics, personal conduct, and what they believed they had done for History, only makes the reading all the better. Again the Author communicates grand theories of these men, without getting tangled in minutiae.
The Author clearly knows his subjects and he shares and expands his reader's knowledge with the skill that he employs with his pen. He is not a man who suffers from hero worship, nor is he a revisionist. Mr. Ellis does not present these Revolutionary players with the façade of Patriotism hiding faults, nor does he lack the objectivity to present all the players with scholarly detachment.
If more Historians wrote in this style we would not be subject to the surveys that routinely demonstrate how Historically illiterate our Children and many adults are. History can be fascinating, or lethally dull. Those who present it will determine what we will know of our past, and happily Mr. Ellis is at the forefront of documenting History with style that is enticing to read, and with content that is meticulous and objective.
Unconditionally recommended!
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