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Book Review Of Joseph Ellison's "Founding Brothers"

921 words - 4 pages

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary GenerationBy Joseph Ellis Joseph J. Ellis has written a book titled Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, published by Vintage books, a Division on Random House, Inc., New York, in the year 2000. The Pulitzer Prize winning book follows the founders of our country including John and Abigail Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. The time spans from the Constitution until John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die. In six chapters and a wonderfully written preface, Ellis describes the founder's lives in great detail. The story telling abilities and description of detail in Ellis's writings make this book a must have for any history buff. Ellis has a way of using a massive amount of detail in his writings. Rather than just giving the basics, he really gives the reader vivid pictures of what is going on. A wonderful example of Ellis's detail is this quote about Madison, "At five feet six and less than 140 pounds "little Jemmy Madison" had the frail and discernibly fragile appearance of a career librarian or school master, forever lingering on the edge of some fatal ailment, overmatched by the daily demands of ordinary life". This is just one of many details that Ellis uses throughout the entire book. He in fact covers topics so heavily that for a reader with not much interest in the topic might become uninterested. This book gives the behind the scenes look at history. Ellis knows this period in history very well. He has done much research for this book and it is evident in his endnotes that he has documented. He uses many sources that others writers might not have used. His notes take up almost thirty pages of his book. He uses many books, personal letters, and various other publications and periodicals. In the last years of Adam's and Jefferson's lives, the two wrote many letters that Ellis uses in his book. His sources range in years from the seventeen hundreds all the way till present time. In his chapter, "The Silence", he goes as far as to include the 1790 census of the United States. He has used this to show the ratios of free people to slaves. He quotes the constitution by saying, "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight" This chapter illustrates in great detail about the issue of slavery at the time of the writing of the...

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