The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers

The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers

by Thomas Fleming

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061139130
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/09/2010
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 250,523
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Thomas Fleming is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently, The Perils of Peace. He has been the president of the Society of American Historians and of PEN American Center. Mr. Fleming is a frequent guest on C-SPAN, PBS, A&E, and the History Channel. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Book 1 George Washington

The Agonies of Honor 3

Partner In Love and Life 19

From Great Somebody to Lady Washington 36

The Other George Washington Scandals 58

Book 2 Benjamin Franklin

The Sins of the Father 73

The Oldest Revolutionary 91

Mon Cher Papa 102

Book 3 John Adams

An Amorous Puritan Finds a Wife 125

Portia's Dubious Diplomat 141

Second Banana Blues 162

Party Of Two 177

Remembering Some Other Ladies 194

Book 4 Alexander Hamilton

Bastard Son and Wary Lover 209

The Woman in the Middle 224

Love's Secret Triumph 244

Book 5 Thomas Jefferson

Romantic Voyager 259

The Traumas of Happiness 271

Head Versus Heart 292

The Wages of Fame 309

If Jefferson Is Wrong, Is America Wrong? 328

Book 6 James Madison

A Shy Genius Makes a Conquest 355

Partners In Fame 369

How To Save a Country 388

Appendix: The Erosion of Jefferson's Image in the American Mind 409

Notes 417

Index 439

What People are Saying About This

Jay Winik

“Thomas Fleming is one of our most interesting scholars of the Revolutionary period, and in his insightful latest work he does not disappoint. Focusing on the wives and women of the founding fathers, Intimate Lives is thoroughly fresh, frequently fun, at times touching, and always fascinating. A significant achievement.”

Peter R. Henriques

“Tom Fleming is a rare combination - a fine historian and a fine writer. His assessment of George Washington’s relationships with Sally Fairfax and Martha Custis is right on target.”

Brenda Wineapple

“With his ample gifts as a novelist and his brilliant historical reach, the esteemed Thomas Fleming never disappoints...A remarkable achievement— and hard to put down.”

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The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
new-york-historian More than 1 year ago
Absorbing. A very different look at the founding fathers. A great read as each biography is substantial and stands independently. Humanizes the subjects. Perhaps the most interesting chapter relates how Jefferson has been re-invented by numerous biographers in the 183 years since his death; it makes one think of Harry Truman whose poll standings made it impossible for him to run for re-election in 1952, but is now considered a "near great" president. "History" is not an absolute, but is constantly changing. Well researched. Fleming is a past president of the Society of American Historians.
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Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
The Inti­mate Lives of the Found­ing Fathers by Thomas Flem­ing is a his­tory book which tells about the lives of six famous men from the per­spec­tive of their rela­tion­ship with the women in their lives. I do love books which tells us more his­tory from the “trenches”, after all, there are very few big events which aren’t made of small, per­sonal moments. The Inti­mate Lives of the Found­ing Fathers by Thomas Flem­ing is what one might call “his­tory light”. While there was no new infor­ma­tion revealed in the book, it is a won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to more seri­ous works which deal with the Found­ing Fathers, their poli­cies and how the rela­tion­ships with other influ­enced their work (which still has ram­i­fi­ca­tions to this day) and their policies. Mr. Flem­ing does not view the Found­ing Fathers as untouch­able his­tor­i­cal fig­ures, but as men of flesh and blood who lived, loved, laughed, hurt and got­ten hurt. The author’s research is excel­lent and his writ­ing style is enjoyable. Those who only learned about these six giants of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics in school are bound to get a bit of shock. George Wash­ing­ton had a crush on this neighbor’s wife, Alexan­der Hamil­ton com­mit­ted flat out adul­tery, Ben­jamin Franklin had a child out of wed­lock and left his wife to frolic in Paris. While the men of this book are in the title, the real stars are the women, espe­cially Abi­gail Adams and Dol­ley Madi­son. These two for­mi­da­ble women seemed to have an equal mar­i­tal rela­tion­ship in today’s stan­dards. Both James Madi­son and John Adams relied on their wives for strength and advice. The let­ter exchange between John and Abi­gail Adams shows a remark­able woman who could hold her own in deep philo­soph­i­cal and polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion with her hus­band and a match to his wit which is only recently began to be appre­ci­ated. Mr. Flem­ing calls those two first ladies “Pres­i­den­tresses”, a term which some might use (mostly not in a com­pli­men­tary fash­ion) to other first ladies who seemed to call the shots behind the scenes (Edith Wil­son, Eleanor Roo­sevelt and more recently Hillary Clinton). A whole sec­tion is ded­i­cated to the tire­some sub­ject of Thomas Jefferson’s rela­tion­sh­iop with his slave Sally Hem­ings. The author seems to think that the affair never hap­pened, he might be right as he bring forth very con­vinc­ing, well researched rea­sons as to why (regard­less of the recent plethora of soap-opera type TV hype). How­ever, I find myself amused by argu­ment for either side in this affair. First, I sim­ply don’t care about an affair which a hap­pened 250 years ago, sec­ond I’m more inter­ested in what the affair might or might not mean in the grand scheme of things. The Inti­mate Lives of the Found­ing Fathers is a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse into the pri­vate lives of these famous Amer­i­cans. The per­sonal tid­bits are, for me, what makes his­tory come alive from the past.