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

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

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by Joshua Kendall
     
 

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American's own The Professor and the Madman: a story of Noah Webster, author of American English.

Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so ubiquitous.

Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started America

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Overview

American's own The Professor and the Madman: a story of Noah Webster, author of American English.

Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so ubiquitous.

Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started America's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post. His "blue-backed speller" for schoolchildren sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Noah Webster (1758-1843) is best known, of course, for his breakthrough 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, but according to author Joshua Kendall (The Man Who Made Lists), lexicography was just one of Webster's claims to fame. In fact, the thesis of his new book is that this proud Connecticut Yankee deserves credit as one of our true Founding Fathers. Kendall doesn't argue that Webster fought on Revolutionary War frontlines or ghost wrote the Declaration of Independence; instead, he maintains that this energetic 18th century polymath helped create a unified, distinctly American culture. A full-bodied view of a great man who had become a footnote.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399156991
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
04/14/2011
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
9.04(w) x 6.22(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
HerbSloan More than 1 year ago
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.
mdt2 More than 1 year ago
A compelling read. At times I struggled some with this book. It seemed to have a lot of: "On March 30, 1810, Noah did such and such. Then he went to dinner at Mr._____'s home. Then he went home." There was some boring routine. The author obviously investigated his subject thoroughly, but there could have been more variation in the writing. I kept up with it because of the subject. The last one-third to one-half of the book picked up some and kept my interest to the end. I enjoyed learning the subject matter, but think it could have been presented in a more compelling and more readable way. It is strange that we commonly think of Daniel Webster as the dictionary guru, when it was really Noah. Thanks also, Mr. Kendall, I was exposed to 75 new words that I could not define and have to look up and study from my Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary to place in my own personal dictionary I'm creating. Noah Webster lives on and has had a tremendous influence on our culture.  He was truly a great man and left a lasting legacy. A popular biography was warranted. After finishing the book, I'm thinking, Wow.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago