Customer Reviews for

American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Different perspectives, provoking thought: pithy!

While I have read and enjoyed many books about the early years of our country's life, this one stood out for me.

Certainly, Ellis' easy reading style was a contributing factor. Nevertheless, the baseline concept and its delivery were the most significant reasons I t...
While I have read and enjoyed many books about the early years of our country's life, this one stood out for me.

Certainly, Ellis' easy reading style was a contributing factor. Nevertheless, the baseline concept and its delivery were the most significant reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this book. After providing a cogent "first year" foundation, Ellis outlined five events and the dialogue, issues, and history that led up to them; and why they were, and are, important to understand. These five watershed events were compelling for me, as Ellis painted the pictures: the winter at Valley Forge, the birthing of the Constitution, a first treaty with a Native American nation, the early years of infighting and beginning of the two-party system, and finally the Louisiana Purchase.

While other authors have dealt with some of these events and people before, Ellis brings in new and fresh viewpoints of interest today. The challenges of federal versus state governance are certainly of relevance considering the challenges facing states and the federal government to work together to resolve the devastating financial crisis we are in. A significant asset for the US throughout its history-its large space and the impact it has had on people's passions and desires-again another current topic considering that large landscape now through a lens of water shortages and environmental pressures. In addition, Ellis provided new insights for students of Washington, Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and others. However, he also brought in less studied players, such as, Alexander McGillivray. Overall, as Ellis stated in The Founding chapter: "The American founding was, and still is, a group portrait."

A pithy read, prompting interesting dialogues! Nicely painted!

posted by Ceal52 on February 23, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not as good as Founding Brothers

This was an OK book, but I did not think it was as good as Founding Brothers. As an historian it told me little new. It would probably read better to a casual reader.

posted by SAM1954 on September 7, 2009

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Different perspectives, provoking thought: pithy!

    While I have read and enjoyed many books about the early years of our country's life, this one stood out for me.

    Certainly, Ellis' easy reading style was a contributing factor. Nevertheless, the baseline concept and its delivery were the most significant reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this book. After providing a cogent "first year" foundation, Ellis outlined five events and the dialogue, issues, and history that led up to them; and why they were, and are, important to understand. These five watershed events were compelling for me, as Ellis painted the pictures: the winter at Valley Forge, the birthing of the Constitution, a first treaty with a Native American nation, the early years of infighting and beginning of the two-party system, and finally the Louisiana Purchase.

    While other authors have dealt with some of these events and people before, Ellis brings in new and fresh viewpoints of interest today. The challenges of federal versus state governance are certainly of relevance considering the challenges facing states and the federal government to work together to resolve the devastating financial crisis we are in. A significant asset for the US throughout its history-its large space and the impact it has had on people's passions and desires-again another current topic considering that large landscape now through a lens of water shortages and environmental pressures. In addition, Ellis provided new insights for students of Washington, Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and others. However, he also brought in less studied players, such as, Alexander McGillivray. Overall, as Ellis stated in The Founding chapter: "The American founding was, and still is, a group portrait."

    A pithy read, prompting interesting dialogues! Nicely painted!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome

    This book takes an interesting look at the founding generation. It celebrates the accomplishments of these gentlemen such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Constitution. This book also takes a look at the shortcomings of this group such as their inability to solve the slavery issue and having a successful Indian policy. It views these failures with historical perspective however because of the unknown consequences of the Louisiana Purchase and the invention of the cotton gin.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not as good as Founding Brothers

    This was an OK book, but I did not think it was as good as Founding Brothers. As an historian it told me little new. It would probably read better to a casual reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    terrific book

    This is a fascinating book/cd about the early days of the US. Especially interesting: why Madison changed from a federalist to an anti-federalist and the details of the Louisiana Purchase.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Ellis hits home run again

    Well, after Founding Brothers and His Excellency, I was wondering if there was a bunch more to know about this generation. With Creation - YES. I'm almost through the book. Well-written, poised, insightful. I can't put it down. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    Or y frd

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Great read

    I have always liked Ellis books and this one is no different. This is a great read and does a good job at explaining the trials the Founding Fathers had when creating this great country.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Origin of America Independence

    This book provide an easy and well documented information of the differences of characters among the creationist of the US of America. Excellent for any student as well for all which like to know better the history of this great country

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    very insightful

    Anybody who has read Joseph Ellis before knows how much research and analysis is put into his work. This book is no exception. A collection of narratives regarding a few of the most important episodes of our founding years, which includes a brief review of the war and the winter at Valley Forge, the debate over the Constitution, the creation of political parties, post war Indian affairs and the LA purchase. This was a good read, but I found his scholarly tone to sometimes be somewhat less 'accessible' unlike David McCullough which reads like a novel. I still enjoyed it and recommend this book to anybody and everybody interested in this generation of Americans and period of our history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    A fine read

    Ellis follows up 'Founding Brothers' with another selection about the creation of our nation. He defines this creation period as 1775-1803 and uses six different stories or moments in time to demonstrate how our country resulted from luck and good fortune as much as having outstanding leaders. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as Founding Brothers (an outstanding book). A few of the stories weren't all that interesting and several times I flatly disagreed with some of Ellis' conclusions. For instance, early in the book, Ellis states several times that the founding fathers took certain actions that flew in the face of republican principals. But his conclusion is based on the assumption that American citizen¿s participation or responsibilities in helping to establish the new nation stopped at the door of individual self-interest. Where Ellis sees duplicity, he should have recognized that sometimes there are issues that require action at the expense of self-interest. He certainly understood this issue, for example, in his description of Jefferson¿s conduct during the Louisiana Purchase and how Jefferson specifically chose to avoid addressing the slavery issue (despite Jefferson¿s public abhorrence of slavery), so it is strange that his understanding was not consistent throughout the book. Still, I recommend the book and look forward to his next subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    I don't want to wait two years for his next book, whatever it may be.

    No historian knows the colonial and revolutionary eras of our country better than Joseph J. Ellis. His books outshine even those of David McCullough and Ron Chernow. This one is no different. Unlike 'His Excellency' which may have been daunting to some readers or which was a book on narrower scope, 'American Creation' is a delightful overall look by a leading historian at the founding and creation of this great nation of ours. It is exceedingly well written and is similar in many respect to his most famous work 'Founding Brothers'. The only bad thing about the book is having to wait two or more years now for his next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2007

    Very Good

    Ellis is the best author I know and he goes in depth about the foudners and how they did it. What better? Get it

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    Posted December 11, 2009

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    Posted January 26, 2012

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted July 8, 2009

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    Posted February 17, 2009

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted September 5, 2010

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    Posted August 22, 2009

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