The Founders were vivid, energetic men, with sophisticated worldviews, and this magnificent reckoning of their successes draws liberally from their own eloquent writings on their actions and well-considered intentions. Richly illustrated with America's historical and architectural treasures, this volume also considers the houses the Founders built with such care and money to reflect their vision for the fledgling nation. That so many great thinkers--Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, John Jay, the Lees of Stratford Hall, and polemicist William Livingston--came together to accomplish what rightly seemed to them almost a miracle is a standing historical mystery, best understood by pondering the men themselves and their profound and world-changing ideas.
Through impressive research and an intimate understanding of these iconic patriots, award-winning author Myron Magnet offers fresh insight into why the American experiment resulted in over two centuries of unexampled freedom and prosperity.
- ISBN-13: 9780393240214
- ISBN-10: 0393240215
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: November 2013
- Page Count: 472
- Dimensions: 9.43 x 6.38 x 1.53 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.99 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
The founders of the American republic distinguished themselves by making political change without altering their nation’s economic structure and by setting strict limits on government. Journalist Magnet (Dickens and the Social Order) ploddingly retells tales of the earliest years of the republic, through brief biographies of founding figures George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, New Jersey Governor William Livingston, and the Lees of Virginia. Magnet shows how each founder’s ideas about the structure of the new republic grew out of, and informed, his home life and the houses he constructed. “Because they were trying to create a new nation where Americans would be truly at home, the houses they themselves inhabited... offer a vivid glimpse... into the ideal of life they imagined for themselves and for their countrymen.” To walk through Jefferson’s Monticello “is to feel oneself in a microcosm of Jefferson’s conception of the universe, a complex order whose parts mesh precisely, as one sees once one grasps the plan.” Regrettably, Magnet merely tacks on material about the most fascinating aspects of the design and construction of these founders’ houses, leaving us to wade frustratingly through dull accounts of familiar stories. (Nov.)