Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different

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In this brilliantly illuminating group portrait of the men who came to be known as the Founding Fathers, the incomparable Gordon Wood has written a book that seriously asks, "What made these men great?" and shows us, among many other things, just how much character did in fact matter. The life of each—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, Paine—is presented individually as well as collectively, but the thread that binds these portraits together is the idea of character as a lived reality. They were members of the first generation in history that was self-consciously self-made men who understood that the arc of lives, as of nations, is one of moral progress.

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About the Author:

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His 1969 book The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787 received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes, and was nominated for the National Book Award. His 1992 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. His 2009 book Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, won the 2010 New York Historical Society Prize in American History. Wood's other books include Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders DifferentThe Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of HistoryThe Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and most recently, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States, and he contributes regularly to The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.

From AudioFile:

Wood examines the motivations, personalities, foibles, and integrity of the Founding Fathers, and how those factors bore on the creation of our nation. This temperate, informed, and informative, albeit long-winded, volume responds to revisionist historians, who have over-humanized the men who created the United States. The work benefits from the skill of narrator Scott Brick, whose intelligence and expressiveness absorbingly reflect the meat and message of even the stuffiest passages. His Shakespearean experience adds sonority and grace to a text that, on paper, often lacks both. He and his producers are a bit careless with names, as when he pronounces "Strahan," a friend of Franklin, two ways, both wrong. Y.R. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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