Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician [NOOK Book]


The only full biography of Benjamin Rush, an extraordinary Founding Father and America's leading physician of the Colonial era

While Benjamin Rush appears often and meaningfully in biographies about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, this legendary man is presented as little more than a historical footnote. Yet, he was a propelling force in what culminated...
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Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician

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The only full biography of Benjamin Rush, an extraordinary Founding Father and America's leading physician of the Colonial era

While Benjamin Rush appears often and meaningfully in biographies about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, this legendary man is presented as little more than a historical footnote. Yet, he was a propelling force in what culminated in the Declaration of Independence, of which he was a signer.

Rush was an early agitator for independence, a member of the First Continental Congress, and one of the leading surgeons of the Continental Army during the early phase of the Revolutionary War. He was a constant and indefatigable adviser to the foremost figures of the American Revolution, notably George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

Even if he had not played a major role in our country's creation, Rush would have left his mark in history as an eminent physician and a foremost social reformer in such areas as medical teaching, treatment of the mentally ill (he is considered the Father of American Psychiatry), international prevention of yellow fever, establishment of public schools, implementation of improved education for women, and much more.

For readers of well-written biographies, Brodsky has illuminated the life of one of America's great and overlooked revolutionaries.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Born in 1746 in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Rush became friends with Benjamin Franklin when Rush was studying for his medical degree in Scotland and Franklin was a representative to England. Armed with letters of introduction from Franklin, Rush met with many of the leading political and medical figures in Britain and France before returning in 1769 to Philadelphia, where he established a thriving medical practice. But Rush was just as interested in the colonies' budding independence movement as he was with medicine, and that interest led him to write an essay that, according to Brodsky (The Great Mayor), helped to instigate the Boston Tea Party. Rush is also credited with encouraging Thomas Paine to write Common Sense. During the first Continental Congress, Rush entertained many of America's Founding Fathers, became especially close to John Adams and was a co-signer of the Declaration of Independence. After the war, Rush devoted himself to his medical practice, where he trained many of America's leading doctors and also explored new paths in mental health. One reason for Rush being so little known is that he ran afoul of George Washington as a participant in the failed Conway Cabal, which sought to oust Washington as commander in chief in 1777. Brodsky's sympathetic biography interweaves Rush's observations and experiences with the momentous events that led to the founding of the nation. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A solid-and somewhat stolid-life of an often-overlooked Founding Father. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), political biographer Brodsky (The Great Mayor, 2003, etc.) shows, was one of those impossibly accomplished gentlemen of the Georgian era. He was a noted doctor and scientist, and though his longstanding belief in the value of bleeding a victim to remove pestilential humors earned him the nickname "Dr. Vampire," he was responsible for training some 2,500 medical students in Philadelphia and elsewhere. ("It is said," writes Brodsky, "that every outstanding American physician down to the Civil War was either a pupil of Rush or of a Rush pupil.") He was a man of learning and letters, capable of holding his own in arguments against the likes of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the blustering Tory, whom he liked well enough, "after making some deductions from his character on account of his ecclesiastical and political bigotry." He was a capable politician and an early convert to the cause of the American Revolution, radicalized by repressive British colonial legislation in the 1760s. He read everything and knew everyone, as did his friends Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, with whom he was in every way an intellectual equal. All good reason to give attention and honor to Rush, who was one of the best of a remarkable generation. Brodsky does just that, although there are some notable shortcomings in his treatment. For one thing, he does not give enough attention to the causes of Rush's radical awakening and is content to write, weakly, "having developed an interest in politics, Rush expressed his feelings about the Stamp Act." For another, he is inclined to recite Rush's scholarly and medical achievementswithout much commentary, making this account of little use to historians of science. Still, readers without much knowledge of Rush-and that would be most people-will find this an accessible introduction to the man and his tumultuous times. Agent: Sam Fleishman/Literary Artists Representatives
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466859746
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/10/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 617,864
  • File size: 527 KB

Meet the Author

Alyn Brodsky is the author of several biographies, including The Great Mayor and Grover Cleveland, and was also the Editorial Director of two multi-volume encyclopedias, one on American history, the other on the Bible. He has lectured on history and classical music, served as a combat correspondent and feature writer for Pacific Stars & Stripes, and has been a book critic and columnist for a number of U.S. newspapers. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida where he is at work on his next book.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2004

    Another winner from Brodsky

    Another well-researched and very readable biography from Mr. Brodsky. He sheds light on a much-deserving man who is often overlooked. The book gives an indepth look at Rush's life and makes clear he deserves more credit than he has ever received. Mr. Brodsky's style makes this book easy to read though his scholarship is impeccable. A worthwhile book for any history buff or anyone looking to read something of real substance as opposed to most of the superficial nonsense that sells today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2004

    Rush and a New Nation

    Alyn Brodsky does a great job telling the story of Benjamin Rush, one of the lesser known signers of the Declaration of Independence. From the descriptions of medical knowledge and practices, to the complicated relationships of the men who helped found our nation, the book holds the reader's interest throughout.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2014

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