Franklin & Washington

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Franklin & Washington

Franklin & Washington

  • Author : Edward J. Larson
  • ISBN :
  • Category : History
  • Publisher : HarperCollins
  • Pages : 352
  • Release Date : 2020-02-11

"Larson's elegantly written dual biography reveals that the partnership of Franklin and Washington was indispensable to the success of the Revolution." —Gordon S. Wood From the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a masterful, first-of-its-kind dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, illuminating their partnership's enduring importance. NATIONAL BESTSELLER • One of Washington Post's "10 Books to Read in February" • One of USA Today’s “Must-Read Books" of Winter 2020 • One of Publishers Weekly's "Top Ten" Spring 2020 Memoirs/Biographies Theirs was a three-decade-long bond that, more than any other pairing, would forge the United States. Vastly different men, Benjamin Franklin—an abolitionist freethinker from the urban north—and George Washington—a slaveholding general from the agrarian south—were the indispensable authors of American independence and the two key partners in the attempt to craft a more perfect union at the Constitutional Convention, held in Franklin’s Philadelphia and presided over by Washington. And yet their teamwork has been little remarked upon in the centuries since. Illuminating Franklin and Washington’s relationship with striking new detail and energy, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Edward J. Larson shows that theirs was truly an intimate working friendship that amplified the talents of each for collective advancement of the American project. After long supporting British rule, both Franklin and Washington became key early proponents of independence. Their friendship gained historical significance during the American Revolution, when Franklin led America’s diplomatic mission in Europe (securing money and an alliance with France) and Washington commanded the Continental Army. Victory required both of these efforts to succeed, and success, in turn, required their mutual coordination and cooperation. In the 1780s, the two sought to strengthen the union, leading to the framing and ratification of the Constitution, the founding document that bears their stamp. Franklin and Washington—the two most revered figures in the early republic—staked their lives and fortunes on the American experiment in liberty and were committed to its preservation. Today the United States is the world’s great superpower, and yet we also wrestle with the government Franklin and Washington created more than two centuries ago—the power of the executive branch, the principle of checks and balances, the electoral college—as well as the wounds of their compromise over slavery. Now, as the founding institutions appear under new stress, it is time to understand their origins through the fresh lens of Larson’s Franklin & Washington, a major addition to the literature of the founding era.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "An elegantly written account of leadership at the most pivotal moment in American history" (Philadelphia Inquirer): Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson reveals how George Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president. After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington shocked the world: he retired. In December 1783, General Washington, the most powerful man in the country, stepped down as Commander in Chief and returned to private life at Mount Vernon. Yet as Washington contentedly grew his estate, the fledgling American experiment floundered. Under the Articles of Confederation, the weak central government was unable to raise revenue to pay its debts or reach a consensus on national policy. The states bickered and grew apart. When a Constitutional Convention was established to address these problems, its chances of success were slim. Jefferson, Madison, and the other Founding Fathers realized that only one man could unite the fractious states: George Washington. Reluctant, but duty-bound, Washington rode to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to preside over the Convention. Although Washington is often overlooked in most accounts of the period, this masterful new history from Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward J. Larson brilliantly uncovers Washington’s vital role in shaping the Convention—and shows how it was only with Washington’s support and his willingness to serve as President that the states were brought together and ratified the Constitution, thereby saving the country.

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In this dazzling work of history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author follows Benjamin Franklin to France for the crowning achievement of his career In December of 1776 a small boat delivered an old man to France." So begins an enthralling narrative account of how Benjamin Franklin--seventy years old, without any diplomatic training, and possessed of the most rudimentary French--convinced France, an absolute monarchy, to underwrite America's experiment in democracy. When Franklin stepped onto French soil, he well understood he was embarking on the greatest gamble of his career. By virtue of fame, charisma, and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers, and hostile colleagues; engineered the Franco-American alliance of 1778; and helped to negotiate the peace of 1783. The eight-year French mission stands not only as Franklin's most vital service to his country but as the most revealing of the man. In A Great Improvisation, Stacy Schiff draws from new and little-known sources to illuminate the least-explored part of Franklin's life. Here is an unfamiliar, unforgettable chapter of the Revolution, a rousing tale of American infighting, and the treacherous backroom dealings at Versailles that would propel George Washington from near decimation at Valley Forge to victory at Yorktown. From these pages emerge a particularly human and yet fiercely determined Founding Father, as well as a profound sense of how fragile, improvisational, and international was our country's bid for independence.

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A vivid portrait of the women who loved, nurtured, and defended America’s famous scientist and founding father. Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin—the thrifty inventor-statesman of the Revolutionary era—but not about his love life. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women Ben loved and lost during his lifelong struggle between passion and prudence. The most prominent among them was Deborah Read Franklin, his common-law wife and partner for forty-four years. Long dismissed by historians, she was an independent, politically savvy woman and devoted wife who raised their children, managed his finances, and fought off angry mobs at gunpoint while he traipsed about England. Weaving detailed historical research with emotional intensity and personal testimony, Nancy Rubin Stuart traces Deborah’s life and those of Ben’s other romantic attachments through their personal correspondence. We are introduced to Margaret Stevenson, the widowed landlady who managed Ben’s life in London; Catherine Ray, the twenty-three-year-old New Englander with whom he traveled overnight and later exchanged passionate letters; Madame Brillon, the beautiful French musician who flirted shamelessly with him, and the witty Madame Helvetius, who befriended the philosophes of pre-Revolutionary France and brought Ben to his knees. What emerges from Stuart’s pen is a colorful and poignant portrait of women in the age of revolution. Set two centuries before the rise of feminism, Poor Richard’s Women depicts the feisty, often-forgotten women dear to Ben’s heart who, despite obstacles, achieved an independence rarely enjoyed by their peers in that era.

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A business biography of George Washington, focusing on his many innovations and inventions. George Washington: general, statesman...businessman? Most people don't know that Washington was one of the country's first true entrepreneurs, responsible for innovations in several industries. In George Washington, Entrepreneur, John Berlau presents a fresh, surprising take on our forefather's business pursuits. History has depicted Washington as a gifted general and political pragmatist, not an intellectual heavyweight. But he was a patron of inventors and inveterate tinkerer, and just as intelligent as Jefferson or Franklin. His library was filled with books on agriculture, history, and philosophy. He was the first to breed horses with donkeys to produce the American mule. On his estate, he grew countless varieties of trees and built a greenhouse full of exotic fruits, herbs, and plants. Unlike his Virginia neighbors who remained wedded to tobacco, Washington planted seven types of wheat. His state-of-the-art mill produced flour which he exported to Europe in sacks stamped "G. Washington"—one of the very first branded food products. Mount Vernon was also home to a distillery and became one of the largest American whiskey producers of the era. Berlau's portrait of Washington, drawn in large part from his journals and extensive correspondence, presents a side of him we haven't seen before. It is sure to delight readers of presidential biography and business history.

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From the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical, comes a gripping portrait of the first president of the United States. Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography “Truly magnificent . . . [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography” —Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal “Until recently, I’d never believed that there could be such a thing as a truly gripping biography of George Washington . . . Well, I was wrong. I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment.” —Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.

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In this new account of Franklin's early life, Pulitzer finalist Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success. From his early career as a printer and journalist to his scientific work and his role as a founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the inevitable embodiment of American ingenuity. But in his youth he had to make his way through a harsh colonial world, where he fought many battles with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions. Taking Franklin to the age of forty-one, when he made his first electrical discoveries, Bunker goes behind the legend to reveal the sources of his passion for knowledge. Always trying to balance virtue against ambition, Franklin emerges as a brilliant but flawed human being, made from the conflicts of an age of slavery as well as reason. With archival material from both sides of the Atlantic, we see Franklin in Boston, London, and Philadelphia as he develops his formula for greatness. A tale of science, politics, war, and religion, this is also a story about Franklin's forebears: the talented family of English craftsmen who produced America's favorite genius.

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Pulitzer Prize Finalist Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography. Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America’s first Renaissance man. From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured America’s independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the world’s most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant. Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth-century genius. A much needed reminder of Franklin’s greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy.

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The Untold Story of the Extraordinary Alliance That Forged Our Nation and the Unlikely Duo Behind It: George Washington & Alexander Hamilton In the wake of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers faced a daunting task: overcome their competing visions to build a new nation, the likes of which the world had never seen. As hostile debates raged over how to protect their new hard-won freedoms, two men formed an improbable partnership that would launch the fledgling United States: George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Washington and Hamilton chronicles the unlikely collaboration between these two conflicting characters at the heart of our national narrative: Washington, the indispensable general devoted to classical virtues, and Hamilton, an ambitious officer and lawyer eager for fame of the noblest kind. Working together, they laid the groundwork for the institutions that govern the United States to this day and protected each other from bitter attacks from Jefferson and Madison, who considered their policies a betrayal of the republican ideals they had fought for. Yet while Washington and Hamilton's different personalities often led to fruitful collaboration, their conflicting ideals also tested the boundaries of their relationship—and threatened the future of the new republic. From the rumblings of the American Revolution through the fractious Constitutional Convention and America's turbulent first years, this captivating history reveals the stunning impact of this unlikely duo that set the United States on the path to becoming a superpower.

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The dramatic story of a founding father, his illegitimate son, and the tragedy of their conflict during the American Revolution—from the acclaimed author of The Lincolns. Ben Franklin is the most lovable of America’s founding fathers. His wit, his charm, his inventiveness—even his grandfatherly appearance—are legendary. But this image obscures the scandals that dogged him throughout his life. In The Loyal Son, award-winning historian Daniel Mark Epstein throws the spotlight on one of the more enigmatic aspects of Franklin’s biography: his complex and confounding relationship with his illegitimate son William. When he was twenty-four, Franklin fathered a child with a woman who was not his wife. He adopted the boy, raised him, and educated him to be his aide. Ben and William became inseparable. After the famous kite-in-a-thunderstorm experiment, it was William who proved that the electrical charge in a lightning bolt travels from the ground up, not from the clouds down. On a diplomatic mission to London, it was William who charmed London society. He was invited to walk in the procession of the coronation of George III; Ben was not. The outbreak of the American Revolution caused a devastating split between father and son. By then, William was royal governor of New Jersey, while Ben was one of the foremost champions of American independence. In 1776, the Continental Congress imprisoned William for treason. George Washington made efforts to win William’s release, while his father, to the world’s astonishment, appeared to have abandoned him to his fate. A fresh take on the combustible politics of the age of independence, The Loyal Son is a gripping account of how the agony of the American Revolution devastated one of America’s most distinguished families. Like Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough, Epstein is a storyteller first and foremost, a historian who weaves together fascinating incidents discovered in long-neglected documents to draw us into the private world of the men and women who made America. “The history of loyalist William Franklin and his famous father has been told before but not as fully or as well as it is by Daniel Mark Epstein in The Loyal Son. Mr. Epstein, a biographer and poet, has done a lot of fresh research and invests his narrative with literary grace and judicious sympathy for both father and son.”—The Wall Street Journal

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For more than one-fifth of his life, Benjamin Franklin lived in London. He dined with prime ministers, members of parliament, even kings, as well as with Britain’s most esteemed intellectuals—including David Hume, Joseph Priestley, and Erasmus Darwin—and with more notorious individuals, such as Francis Dashwood and James Boswell. Having spent eighteen formative months in England as a young man, Franklin returned in 1757 as a colonial representative during the Seven Years’ War, and left abruptly just prior to the outbreak of America’s War of Independence, barely escaping his impending arrest. In this fascinating history, George Goodwin gives a colorful account of Franklin’s British years. The author offers a rich and revealing portrait of one of the most remarkable figures in U.S. history, effectively disputing the commonly held perception of Franklin as an outsider in British politics. It is an enthralling study of an American patriot who was a fiercely loyal British citizen for most of his life—until forces he had sought and failed to control finally made him a reluctant revolutionary at the age of sixty-nine.

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of America's most famous memoirs. In this text, Ben Franklin shares his life story and details his attempts to build a life of good habits and virtues. His plan for self-improvement was one of the first "self help" books and his role as a founder of the United States is given a personal perspective. Xist Publishing is a digital-first publisher. Xist Publishing creates books for the touchscreen generation and is dedicated to helping everyone develop a lifetime love of reading, no matter what form it takes

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Electric Ben is now a 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book, a Horn Fanfare Book, and a Robert F. Sibert Honor book! “a true standout…bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself.” – The New York Times A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin's numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd's lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

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CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title "They could write like angels and scheme like demons." So begins Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Larson's masterful account of the wild ride that was the 1800 presidential election—an election so convulsive and so momentous to the future of American democracy that Thomas Jefferson would later dub it "America's second revolution." This was America's first true presidential campaign, giving birth to our two-party system and indelibly etching the lines of partisanship that have so profoundly shaped American politics ever since. The contest featured two of our most beloved Founding Fathers, once warm friends, facing off as the heads of their two still-forming parties—the hot-tempered but sharp-minded John Adams, and the eloquent yet enigmatic Thomas Jefferson—flanked by the brilliant tacticians Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who later settled their own differences in a duel. The country was descending into turmoil, reeling from the terrors of the French Revolution, and on the brink of war with France. Blistering accusations flew as our young nation was torn apart along party lines: Adams and his elitist Federalists would squelch liberty and impose a British-style monarchy; Jefferson and his radically democratizing Republicans would throw the country into chaos and debase the role of religion in American life. The stakes could not have been higher. As the competition heated up, other founders joined the fray—James Madison, John Jay, James Monroe, Gouverneur Morris, George Clinton, John Marshall, Horatio Gates, and even George Washington—some of them emerging from retirement to respond to the political crisis gripping the nation and threatening its future. Drawing on unprecedented, meticulous research of the day-to-day unfolding drama, from diaries and letters of the principal players as well as accounts in the fast-evolving partisan press, Larson vividly re-creates the mounting tension as one state after another voted and the press had the lead passing back and forth. The outcome remained shrouded in doubt long after the voting ended, and as Inauguration Day approached, Congress met in closed session to resolve the crisis. In its first great electoral challenge, our fragile experiment in constitutional democracy hung in the balance. A Magnificent Catastrophe is history writing at its evocative best: the riveting story of the last great contest of the founding period.

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One of Vogue’s Best Books of the Year One of Esquire’s Best Books of the Year One of the Wall Street Journal’s Favorite Books of the Year One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year: Vogue, Parade, Esquire, Bitch, and Maclean’s A New York Times and Washington Post Book to Watch A fiercely personal memoir about coming of age in the male-dominated literary world of the nineties, becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire, and Miller's personal and working relationship with David Foster Wallace A naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century—the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings—GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there that Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself— Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a “mere girl.” But this was also a unique moment in history that saw the rise of a new literary movement, as exemplified by McSweeney’s and the work of David Foster Wallace. A decade older than Miller, the mercurial Wallace would become the defining voice of a generation and the fiction writer she would work with most. He was her closest friend, confidant—and antagonist. Their intellectual and artistic exchange grew into a highly charged professional and personal relationship between the most prominent male writer of the era and a young woman still finding her voice. This memoir—a rich, dazzling story of power, ambition, and identity—ultimately asks the question “How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost?” With great wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents an inspiring and moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men. “The memoir I’ve been waiting for: a bold, incisive, and illuminating story of a woman whose devotion to language and literature comes at a hideous cost. It’s Joanna Rakoff’s My Salinger Year updated for the age of She Said: a literary New York now long past; an intimate, fiercely realist portrait of a mythic literary figure; and now, a tender reckoning with possession, power, and what Jia Tolentino called the ‘Important, Inappropriate Literary Man.’ A poised and superbly perceptive narration of the problems of working with men, and of loving them.”— Eleanor Henderson, author of 10,000 Saints

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Popular historian and former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn “provides a captivating and enlightening look at George Washington’s post-presidential life and the politically divided country that was part of his legacy” (New York Journal of Books). Beginning where most biographies of George Washington leave off, Washington’s End opens with the first president exiting office after eight years and entering what would become the most bewildering stage of his life. Embittered by partisan criticism and eager to return to his farm, Washington assumed a role for which there was no precedent at a time when the kings across the ocean yielded their crowns only upon losing their heads. In a different sense, Washington would lose his head, too. In this riveting read, bestselling author Jonathan Horn reveals that the quest to surrender power proved more difficult than Washington imagined and brought his life to an end he never expected. The statesman who had staked his legacy on withdrawing from public life would feud with his successors and find himself drawn back into military command. The patriarch who had dedicated his life to uniting his country would leave his name to a new capital city destined to become synonymous with political divisions. A “movable feast of a book” (Jay Winik, New York Times bestselling author of 1944), immaculately researched, and powerfully told through the eyes not only of Washington but also of his family members, friends, and foes, Washington’s End is “an outstanding biographical work on one of America’s most prominent leaders (Library Journal).

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Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award From the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, a "suspenseful" (WSJ) and "adrenaline-fueled" (Outside) entwined narrative of the most adventurous year of all time, when three expeditions simultaneously raced to the top, bottom, and heights of the world. As 1909 dawned, the greatest jewels of exploration—set at the world’s frozen extremes—lay unclaimed: the North and South Poles and the so-called “Third Pole,” the pole of altitude, located in unexplored heights of the Himalaya. Before the calendar turned, three expeditions had faced death, mutiny, and the harshest conditions on the planet to plant flags at the furthest edges of the Earth. In the course of one extraordinary year, Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson were hailed worldwide at the discovers of the North Pole; Britain’s Ernest Shackleton had set a new geographic “Furthest South” record, while his expedition mate, Australian Douglas Mawson, had reached the Magnetic South Pole; and at the roof of the world, Italy’s Duke of the Abruzzi had attained an altitude record that would stand for a generation, the result of the first major mountaineering expedition to the Himalaya's eastern Karakoram, where the daring aristocrat attempted K2 and established the standard route up the most notorious mountain on the planet. Based on extensive archival and on-the-ground research, Edward J. Larson weaves these narratives into one thrilling adventure story. Larson, author of the acclaimed polar history Empire of Ice, draws on his own voyages to the Himalaya, the arctic, and the ice sheets of the Antarctic, where he himself reached the South Pole and lived in Shackleton’s Cape Royds hut as a fellow in the National Science Foundations’ Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. These three legendary expeditions, overlapping in time, danger, and stakes, were glorified upon their return, their leaders celebrated as the preeminent heroes of their day. Stripping away the myth, Larson, a master historian, illuminates one of the great, overlooked tales of exploration, revealing the extraordinary human achievement at the heart of these journeys.

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Before the advent of modern antibiotics, one’s life could be abruptly shattered by contagion and death, and debility from infectious diseases and epidemics was commonplace for early Americans, regardless of social status. Concerns over health affected the founding fathers and their families as it did slaves, merchants, immigrants, and everyone else in North America. As both victims of illness and national leaders, the Founders occupied a unique position regarding the development of public health in America. Revolutionary Medicine refocuses the study of the lives of George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and James and Dolley Madison away from the usual lens of politics to the unique perspective of sickness, health, and medicine in their era. For the founders, republican ideals fostered a reciprocal connection between individual health and the “health” of the nation. Studying the encounters of these American founders with illness and disease, as well as their viewpoints about good health, not only provides us with a richer and more nuanced insight into their lives, but also opens a window into the practice of medicine in the eighteenth century, which is at once intimate, personal, and first hand. Perhaps most importantly, today’s American public health initiatives have their roots in the work of America’s founders, for they recognized early on that government had compelling reasons to shoulder some new responsibilities with respect to ensuring the health and well-being of its citizenry. The state of medicine and public healthcare today is still a work in progress, but these founders played a significant role in beginning the conversation that shaped the contours of its development. Instructor's Guide

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In this eye-opening look at our Founding Fathers that is full of fun facts and lively artwork, it seems that Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and their cohorts sometimes agreed on NOTHING…except the thing that mattered most: creating the finest constitution in world history, for the brand-new United States of America. Tall! Short! A scientist! A dancer! A farmer! A soldier! The founding fathers had no idea they would ever be called the "founding Fathers," and furthermore they could not even agree exactly on what they were founding! Should America declare independence from Britain? "Yes!" shouted some. "No!" shouted others. "Could you repeat the question?" shouted the ones who either hadn't been listening or else were off in France having fun, dancin' the night away. Slave owners, abolitionists, soldiers, doctors, philosophers, bankers, angry letter-writers—the men we now call America's Founding Fathers were a motley bunch of characters who fought a lot and made mistakes and just happened to invent a whole new kind of nation. And now here they are, together again, in an exclusive engagement!

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New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon S. Wood elucidates the debates over the founding documents of the United States. The half century extending from the imperial crisis between Britain and its colonies in the 1760s to the early decades of the new republic of the United States was the greatest and most creative era of constitutionalism in American history, and perhaps in the world. During these decades, Americans explored and debated all aspects of politics and constitutionalism--the nature of power, liberty, representation, rights, the division of authority between different spheres of government, sovereignty, judicial authority, and written constitutions. The results of these issues produced institutions that have lasted for over two centuries. In this new book, eminent historian Gordon S. Wood distills a lifetime of work on constitutional innovations during the Revolutionary era. In concise form, he illuminates critical events in the nation's founding, ranging from the imperial debate that led to the Declaration of Independence to the revolutionary state constitution making in 1776 and the creation of the Federal Constitution in 1787. Among other topics, he discusses slavery and constitutionalism, the emergence of the judiciary as one of the major tripartite institutions of government, the demarcation between public and private, and the formation of states' rights. Here is an immensely readable synthesis of the key era in the making of the history of the United States, presenting timely insights on the Constitution and the nation's foundational legal and political documents.

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A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the dominant force in the creation of the United States of America, from award-winning author David O. Stewart “An outstanding biography . . . [George Washington] has a narrative drive such a life deserves.”—The Wall Street Journal Washington's rise constitutes one of the greatest self-reinventions in history. In his mid-twenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career thanks to an outrageous ego. But by his mid-forties, that headstrong, unwise young man had evolved into an unassailable leader chosen as the commander in chief of the fledgling Continental Army. By his mid-fifties, he was unanimously elected the nation's first president. How did Washington emerge from the wilderness to become the central founder of the United States of America? In this remarkable new portrait, award-winning historian David O. Stewart unveils the political education that made Washington a master politician—and America's most essential leader. From Virginia's House of Burgesses, where Washington mastered the craft and timing of a practicing politician, to his management of local government as a justice of the Fairfax County Court to his eventual role in the Second Continental Congress and his grueling generalship in the American Revolution, Washington perfected the art of governing and service, earned trust, and built bridges. The lessons in leadership he absorbed along the way would be invaluable during the early years of the republic as he fought to unify the new nation.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host. For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedians, highlighted the hypocrisies of the powerful, and garnered 23 Emmys. Now the show's behind-the-scenes gags, controversies, and camaraderie will be chronicled by the players themselves, from legendary host Jon Stewart to the star cast members and writers-including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Steve Carell - plus some of The Daily Show's most prominent guests and adversaries: John and Cindy McCain, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and many more. This oral history takes the reader behind the curtain for all the show's highlights, from its origins as Comedy Central's underdog late-night program to Trevor Noah's succession, rising from a scrappy jester in the 24-hour political news cycle to become part of the beating heart of politics-a trusted source for not only comedy but also commentary, with a reputation for calling bullshit and an ability to effect real change in the world. Through years of incisive election coverage, passionate debates with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, feuds with Bill O'Reilly and Fox, and provocative takes on Wall Street and racism, The Daily Show has been a cultural touchstone. Now, for the first time, the people behind the show's seminal moments come together to share their memories of the last-minute rewrites, improvisations, pranks, romances, blow-ups, and moments of Zen both on and off the set of one of America's most groundbreaking shows.

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Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, Society of American Historians “A tour de force. . . . No one has ever written a book on the Declaration quite like this one.”—Gordon Wood, New York Review of Books Featured on the front page of the New York Times, Our Declaration is already regarded as a seminal work that reinterprets the promise of American democracy through our founding text. Combining a personal account of teaching the Declaration with a vivid evocation of the colonial world between 1774 and 1777, Allen, a political philosopher renowned for her work on justice and citizenship reveals our nation’s founding text to be an animating force that not only changed the world more than two-hundred years ago, but also still can. Challenging conventional wisdom, she boldly makes the case that the Declaration is a document as much about political equality as about individual liberty. Beautifully illustrated throughout, Our Declaration is an “uncommonly elegant, incisive, and often poetic primer on America’s cardinal text” (David M. Kennedy).

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Nina Sankovitch’s American Rebels explores, for the first time, the intertwined lives of the Hancock, Quincy, and Adams families, and the role each person played in sparking the American Revolution. Before they were central figures in American history, John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Quincy Junior, Abigail Smith Adams, and Dorothy Quincy Hancock had forged intimate connections during their childhood in Braintree, Massachusetts. Raised as loyal British subjects who quickly saw the need to rebel, their collaborations against the Crown and Parliament were formed years before the revolution and became stronger during the period of rising taxes and increasing British troop presence in Boston. Together, the families witnessed the horrors of the Boston Massacre, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill; the trials and tribulations of the Siege of Boston; meetings of the Continental Congress; transatlantic missions for peace and their abysmal failures; and the final steps that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. American Rebels explores how the desire for independence cut across class lines, binding people together as well as dividing them—rebels versus loyalists—as they pursued commonly-held goals of opportunity, liberty, and stability. Nina Sankovitch's new book is a fresh history of our revolution that makes readers look more closely at Massachusetts and the small town of Braintree when they think about the story of America’s early years.

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On the ground that horrific night is a courageous young Jewish woman, Gisela Kauffmann. Having just received orders to be herded off to a concentration camp, Gisela will do anything to save herself and her family. In the air, RAF bomber Captain Wallace Campbell is torn between his sworn military duty to bomb an unarmed city crowded with refugees, and his growing conviction that total war is immoral. Surviving Dresden is told through the eyes of Gisela, Wallace, and a compelling cast of characters—a story of personal pain and suffering amid the hope, even as the bombs are falling, of restoring human sanity to a world torn apart. Masterfully sweeping, Surviving Dresden explores the depths of human courage in facing life and death, with human redemption triumphing. “An evocative, inventive tale of war and moral judgment. Surviving Dresden vividly brings to life one of the most controversial episodes of the Second World War.” —Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the World War II Liberation Trilogy “An incredibly suspenseful, powerful story with a redemptive ending. Deserves a wide reading audience, even serious consideration for the big screen. Happy to offer my highest recommendation.” —Frank Price, Former Chairman and CEO, Columbia Pictures, and Former President, Universal Pictures

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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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The Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the Scopes Trial and the battle over evolution and creation in America's schools In the summer of 1925, the sleepy hamlet of Dayton, Tennessee, became the setting for one of the twentieth century's most contentious courtroom dramas, pitting William Jennings Bryan and the anti-Darwinists against a teacher named John Scopes, represented by Clarence Darrow and the ACLU, in a famous debate over science, religion, and their place in public education. That trial marked the start of a battle that continues to this day-in cities and states throughout the country. Edward Larson's classic Summer for the Gods -- winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History -- is the single most authoritative account of this pivotal event. An afterword assesses the state of the battle between creationism and evolution, and points the way to how it might potentially be resolved.

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An illuminating financial history of the Founding Fathers, revealing how their personal finances shaped the Constitution and the new nation In 1776, upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers concluded America’s most consequential document with a curious note, pledging “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Lives and honor did indeed hang in the balance, yet just what were their fortunes? How much did the Founders stand to gain or lose through independence? And what lingering consequences did their respective financial stakes have on liberty, justice, and the fate of the fledgling United States of America? In this landmark account, historian Willard Sterne Randall investigates the private financial affairs of the Founders, illuminating like never before how and why the Revolution came about. The Founders’ Fortunes uncovers how these leaders waged war, crafted a constitution, and forged a new nation influenced in part by their own financial interests. In an era where these very issues have become daily national questions, the result is a remarkable and insightful new understanding of our nation’s bedrock values.

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National Book Award Finalist From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve. Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world—a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.

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It is not uncommon to hear Christians argue that America was founded as a Christian nation. But how true is this claim? In this compact book, David L. Holmes offers a clear, concise and illuminating look at the spiritual beliefs of our founding fathers. He begins with an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, surveying the religious groups in each colony. In particular, he sheds light on the various forms of Deism that flourished in America, highlighting the profound influence this intellectual movement had on the founding generation. Holmes then examines the individual beliefs of a variety of men and women who loom large in our national history. He finds that some, like Martha Washington, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson's daughters, held orthodox Christian views. But many of the most influential figures, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James Monroe, were believers of a different stripe. Respectful of Christianity, they admired the ethics of Jesus, and believed that religion could play a beneficial role in society. But they tended to deny the divinity of Christ, and a few seem to have been agnostic about the very existence of God. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of today's evangelicals. Holmes concludes by examining the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II and by reflecting on the evangelical resurgence that helped fuel the reelection of George W. Bush. An intriguing look at a neglected aspect of our history, the book will appeal to American history buffs as well as to anyone concerned about the role of religion in American culture.

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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer's Tension City. “Three may keep a secret if two of ’em are dead.” –Poor Richard’s Almanack[pg. 27 of mss] R Taylor arrives in Philadelphia for the funeral of his longtime friend Dr. Wally Rush with a heavy heart. Not only has the world lost one of its preeminent, Pulitzer Prize—winning American Revolution historians, but R has lost his mentor, the man who led him to devote his life’s work to the study of “The First American,” Benjamin Franklin. The bond between them was sealed when R did Wally a favor that could never be revealed. But Wally saved one final secret for R, disclosed in a letter conveyed by the will’s executor. Written in the slow, painful script of the professor’s last days, the note delivers an incredible bombshell. Wally, it seems, had stumbled upon twelve handwritten pages in a code commonly used by spies during the revolutionary war. The pages refer to George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, and level a shocking charge–that Benjamin Franklin committed a heinous crime. Wally, not wanting to foul the image of his lifelong hero, had kept this monumental secret until his death. But as R races to unravel the mystery, he faces an onslaught of obstacles. Vicious blackmail, a threat of sabotage against his own career, and grave personal doubts threaten to overtake R as he struggles with a discovery that has the potential to completely alter the fabric of American history. Rich with revelations, rife with the darkest depths of deceit and mystery, and enlightened by the unparalleled insights of America’s first patriots, The Franklin Affair is a tense, constantly surprising novel about the ultimate quest for truth and justice.

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In The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers from Smithsonian Books, historian Thomas Fleming, author of The Perils of Peace, offers a fresh look at the critical role of women in the lives of Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. Fleming nimbly takes readers through a great deal of early American history, as our founding fathers struggle to reconcile the private and public–and often deal with a media every bit as gossip-seeking and inflammatory as ours today.

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A hypnotically fast-paced, masterful reporting of Harry Truman’s first 120 days as president, when he took on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and a secret weapon of unimaginable power—marking the most dramatic rise to greatness in American history. Chosen as FDR’s fourth-term vice president for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR’s sudden death. The first four months of Truman’s administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time. The Accidental President escorts readers into the situation room with Truman during a tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenges even higher. “[A] well-judged and hugely readable book . . . few are as entertaining.” —Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

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In this landmark work of history and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Joseph J. Ellis 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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Scribe Edith Ellis met the spirit of George Washington one evening in 1955. He contacted her from the Other Side to ask if she would serve as a channel so that he could dictate his autobiography for his "fellow American Patriots," believing that he had kept his personal feelings about his life far too private. Edith agreed, although she was nearly blind and in her mid-70s. So began a most extraordinary partnership between Edith Ellis and the "Founding Father of America." The result is this remarkable book that has taken more than 60 years to reach the public. This book is a must-read for everyone who feels the spirit of the Founding Fathers surrounding us again.

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The Founding Fathers have been hailed for centuries as shining examples of men who put aside their own agendas to found a nation. But behind the scenes, there were more petty fights and fraught relationships than signatures on the Declaration of Independence. From the violent brawl between Roger Griswold and Matthew Lyon in the halls of Congress, to George Washington's battle against his slave Harry Washington, these less-discussed clashes bring to light the unpredictable and volatile nature of a constantly changing nation. Additionally, this gripping narrative delves deeper into the famous feuds, such as the fatal duel of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and the many rivalries of Thomas Jefferson (which were as often personal as political.) America's great forbearers fought with each other as bitterly as our politicians do today. Founding Feuds reveals the true natures of the Founding Fathers and how their infighting shaped our nation as much as their cooperation, in fact sometimes even for the better.

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Drawing from Benjamin Franklin's published and unpublished papers, including letters, notes, and marginalia, Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire examines how the early modern liberalism of Franklin's youthful intellectual life helped foster his vision of independence from Britain that became his hallmark achievement. In the early chapters, Carla Mulford explores the impact of Franklin's family history - especially their difficult times during the English Civil War - on Franklin's intellectual life and his personal and political goals. The book's middle chapters show how Franklin's fascination with British imperial strategy grew from his own analyses of the financial, environmental, and commercial potential of North America. Franklin's involvement in Pennsylvania's politics led him to devise strategies for monetary stability, intercolonial trade, Indian affairs, and imperial defense that would have assisted the British Empire in its effort to take over the world. When Franklin realized that the goals of British ministers were to subordinate colonists in a system that assisted the lives of Britons in England but undermined the wellbeing of North Americans, he began to criticize the goals of British imperialism. Mulford argues that Franklin's turn away from the British Empire began in the 1750s - not the 1770s, as most historians have suggested - and occurred as a result of Franklin's perceptive analyses of what the British Empire was doing not just in the American colonies but in Ireland and India. In the last chapters, Mulford reveals how Franklin ultimately grew restive, formed alliances with French intellectuals and the court of France, and condemned the actions of the British Empire and imperial politicians. As a whole, Mulford's book provides a fresh reading of a much-admired founding father, suggesting how Franklin's conception of the freedoms espoused in England's ages old Magna Carta could be realized in the political life of the new American nation.

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A history of the American Constitution's formative decades from a preeminent legal scholar When the US Constitution won popular approval in 1788, it was the culmination of thirty years of passionate argument over the nature of government. But ratification hardly ended the conversation. For the next half century, ordinary Americans and statesmen alike continued to wrestle with weighty questions in the halls of government and in the pages of newspapers. Should the nation's borders be expanded? Should America allow slavery to spread westward? What rights should Indian nations hold? What was the proper role of the judicial branch? In The Words that Made Us, Akhil Reed Amar unites history and law in a vivid narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted, and he expertly assesses the answers they offered. His account of the document's origins and consolidation is a guide for anyone seeking to properly understand America's Constitution today.

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In The Founding Fortunes, historian Tom Shachtman reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes. While history teaches that successful revolutions depend on participation by the common man, the establishment of a stable and independent United States first required wealthy colonials uniting to disrupt the very system that had enriched them, and then funding a very long war. While some fortunes were made during the war at the expense of the poor, many of the wealthy embraced the goal of obtaining for their poorer countrymen an unprecedented equality of opportunity, along with independence. In addition to nuanced views of the well-known wealthy such as Robert Morris and John Hancock, and of the less wealthy but influential Alexander Hamilton, The Founding Fortunes offers insight into the contributions of those often overlooked by popular history: Henry Laurens, the plantation owner who replaced Hancock as President of Congress; pioneering businessmen William Bingham, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Stephen Girard; privateer magnate Elias Hasket Derby; and Hamilton’s successors at Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. and Albert Gallatin. The Founders dealt with tariffs, taxes on the wealthy, the national debt, regional disparities, the census as it affected finances, and how much of what America needs should be manufactured at home in ways that remain startlingly relevant. Revelatory and insightful, The Founding Fortunes provides a riveting history of economic patriotism that still resonates today.

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