Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different

Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different

by Gordon S. Wood

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143112082
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/29/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 111,512
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His 1969 book The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787 received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes, and was nominated for the National Book Award. His 1992 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. His 2009 book Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, won the 2010 New York Historical Society Prize in American History. Wood's other books include Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders DifferentThe Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of HistoryThe Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and most recently, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States, and he contributes regularly to The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.

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From the Publisher

Of those writing about the founding fathers, [Gordon Wood] is quite simply the best. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
biff More than 1 year ago
Gordon Wood is among the most respected scholars of the Revolutionary ERA & this book informs the reader what made our "Founding Fathers" so exceptional. He tells the reader a different story of the "Founding Fathers" but there is a central thread running through the different stories- they were all exceptional men w/great integrity. They each brought a different view of what they wanted in a new Nation & brought w/them a moral progress. He describes by what process each of the founders contributed to the birth of America. Each of the founders were decent, honest & learned(some more than others). This was an erudite & learned book, highly recommended for all Americans
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Wood strips away the myth and paints a portrait of some of our Founders in the light and context of their own time -- and he does so more successfully that dozens of other better known authors. After revealing each character, he sets them against aech other to interact as they would have -- and did in their time. You can see them. You can feel the intensity. He also does a great job of describing the intensity of THAT time, setting up the background until it becomes the present. We sample their "GREATNESS". We travel through history in a bubble of reality and then we experience their loss. Their undoing. Their demise. We "feel" and experience their weakness, their reality, their humanness. This book has a special place on the shelf. A remarkable read!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book focuses on the personalities of our founding fathers and dwells on their negative characteristics. Rarely are their accomplishments or positive qualities mentioned. Without knowing each personally, how could Mr. Wood presume to know their true thoughts, motivations and feelings? Even their sometimes voluminous correspondence was written and edited for posterity and was not revealing of the author. While pointing out their character ¿disinterested leadership¿, you get the feeling that the author is trying to say something positive about someone he really doesn¿t like. If you can handle some questionable negativity and appreciate their demonstrated character, it¿s an interesting book. Aaron Burr was an excellent example of a founding politician lacking character ¿ unfortunately today he would be a typical politician. Also, I was glad to see Thomas Paine included in the list of founding fathers.
Angelic55blonde on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a pretty good book but I did get kind of bored by the end. It is almost like a quick summary of our founding fathers from George Washington to John Adams to Aaron Burr. Each founding father gets his own little chapter which makes it easier to read and understand. Gordon S. Wood is a great writer and historian, and he did do some great research for this book but I was not as impressed with it. I expected more.
CritEER on LibraryThing 3 months ago
- Book #2 that I have read by Gordon Wood¿Wood is outstanding and is moving up to the top of my list of favorite revolutionary war authors- Profile/short chapter of 8 famous American Founders¿Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Adams, Paine, and Burr- Profile/short chapters are not individual biographies, the intent is to understand the Founder¿s personality, philosophies and motivations- My favorite chapter was ¿Is There a James Madison Problem¿¿in the 1780¿s Madison was in favor of a strong Federal government and active collaborator with Hamilton on the Federalist Papers. However, in the 1790¿s Madison turn on Hamilton and began to advocate for limited Federal government powers. Wood states Madison never ¿flip-flop¿ on the powers of the federal government. Madison desire was to have the federal government umpire over states ensuring they maintain a republican form of government¿not to govern over the states- Enjoyed the Burr and Paine profile/short chapters. My other revolutionary war era books have not painted the picture of Burr/Paine character and political philosophies like Wood has done in this outstanding book- The profile/short chapter on Adams was a very scholarly read. Woods points out that Adams was brilliant in his thoughts on government. However, Adams had a huge gap in the role democratic principles would have in support of the three branches of government- The profile/short chapter on Washington supports why Washington deserves to be mentioned as our greatest President- Woods points out that none of the Founders ever intended to contribute to democratic form of government, which of course is what eventually occurred
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Nuf said
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YUMMMMMMM.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haymitch. Lots of... spunk! ((Haha, get it? And there's no need for some evil president in my world.))
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a major fan of this book. While Wood was critical, to an extent, of some of the founders, it only served to humanize these men who often are deified. On the contrary, I believe this book painted honest portraits of great men of the period and went a great ways in combating some of the recent 'Founding Father Debunkifiers'. Like a math teacher provides formulas for equation solving, Wood gives us the information and insight that helps explain why some of these men did what they did. He provides a window to the nuts and bolts of the Revolutionary machine that were the Founders. These men werent half human, half divine beings receiving their inspiration from on high. They were real men of character (some more than other) that did what they did for reasons. Some self-serving, others honest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Get it, read words like these: 'These colonialists had never lived without the presence of a king, ..'They were engaging upon a new nation dedicated to self rule'. Are you going away to college? ..Take this one with you for company!! E. Pluribus Unum!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second book written by Gordon Wood I've had the opportunity to read, the other being 'The Radicalism of The American Revolution'. I'm sorry to say that in both instances I've been somewhat disappointed by the analytical style with which Wood approaches his subject matter. Unfortunately, for me, this is somewhat akin to reading a didactic analysis of a great story rather than the great story itself and I found myself struggling with boredom and counting the pages to the end of each chapter so that I could get on to my next book in my current obsession with the American Revolution. While I do not question Prof. Wood's academic capabilities, I do think that he tends more toward historical analysis than historical narrative. This analytical style leads inevitably to conclusions and statements that sometimes appear somewhat subjective. One example is the inclusion of Aaron Burr in this collection of character analyses. On one hand, Wood acknowledges that Burr is not generally considered a 'founder' of the United States yet repeatedly refers to 'the other founders' when comparing Burr with Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, etc. as if Burr were among them. His subsequent analysis of Burr's character as completely lacking the qualities of the true founders begs the question of why Burr is even making an appearance in this book in the first place. Another criticism I have is Wood's tendency to make passing references to individuals not generally well known to most readers, (such as the 18th century English literary figure, Samuel Johnson, to whom Wood refers three times as 'Dr. Johnson' and once as 'Samuel Johnson') without explaining who they are. This is a common flaw one finds in works by some academics who seem at times forgetful that they are writing for a readership that is somewhat broader than the professorial cliques within which they move. It is a rare scholar indeed who possesses both academic ability as well as a talent for engaging the reader. Prof. Wood appears decidedly better on the first point than the second.