The New York Times
The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Cultureby Joshua Kendall
Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of/i>
Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so ubiquitous. Now acclaimed author of The Man Who Made Lists, Joshua Kendall sheds new light on Webster's life, and his far-reaching influence in establishing the American nation.
Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started New York'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.
The New York Times
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(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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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.
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.