I recently completed my fifth trip through Joseph Ellis’s indispensable Founding Brothers. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2001, the book provides one of the best all-around glimpses of the Founders, depicting them more like a squabbling family than a collection of wizened sages.
The book has had a profound influence on the way I understand the founding of the Republic, and it’s certainly had a huge influence in shaping my attitudes about the Founders themselves. It’s the book, for instance, that first transformed me into an Adams fan (and, in particular, I like the way the book treats Abigail Adams with the same kind of primacy it gives her husband, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton, and Burr). Continue reading