The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture

Overview


America's own The Professor and the Madman: the story of Noah Webster, author of the first dictionary of American English-and a forgotten leader during a turning point in our nation's history.

Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but although there is much more to his story than that singular achievement, his rightful place in American history has been forgotten over time. Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant...

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The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture

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Overview


America's own The Professor and the Madman: the story of Noah Webster, author of the first dictionary of American English-and a forgotten leader during a turning point in our nation's history.

Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but although there is much more to his story than that singular achievement, his rightful place in American history has been forgotten over time. Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, among others. He started New York City's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post. His "blue- backed speller" for schoolchildren, his first literary effort, sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. He helped found Amherst College and served as a state representative for both Connecticut and Massachusetts. But perhaps most important, Webster was an ardent supporter of a unified, definitively American culture, distinct from the British, at a time when the United States of America were anything but unified-and his dictionary of American English is a testament to that.

In The Forgotten Founding Father, Joshua Kendall, author of The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus, gives us a well-researched and absorbing look into the life of Webster, another man driven by his obsessions and compulsions to compile and organize words. The result is a treat for word lovers and history buffs alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Jesse Sheidlower
…Joshua Kendall gives us a lively and insightful biography, the best picture we have of Webster's complex character.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425245453
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 689,959
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Joshua Kendall is a language enthusiast and an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today. He lives in Boston.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Forgotten. v, Germanic

    Mr. Kendall has done his homework. This bio is well researched and very well written. Many history books are boringly written and sometimes pointless. The Forgotten Founding Father suffers from neither of these traits. I throughly enjoyed the work and the author makes a good argument that Noah Webster was a major contributor in the founding of this country. I also gained insite into the personalities and the social and economic order of the time. Noah Webster for instance invented the book tour and used it to good advantage. Well done Mr. Kendall.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 24, 2011

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    Posted July 15, 2011

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