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Alexander Hamilton is one of the least understood, most important, and most impassioned and inspiring of the founding fathers. At last Hamilton has found a modern biographer who can bring him to full-blooded life; Richard Brookhiser. In these pages, Alexander Hamilton sheds his skewed image as the "bastard brat of a Scotch peddler," sex scandal survivor, and notoriously doomed dueling partner of Aaron Burr. Examined up close, throughout his meteoric and ever-fascinating (if tragically brief) life, Hamilton can at last be seen as one of the most crucial of the founders. Here, thanks to Brookhiser's accustomed wit and grace, this quintessential American lives again.
Richard Brookhiser has won a wide and loyal following for his stylish, pointed, and elegant biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. In America's First Dynasty,Brookhiser tells the story of America's longest and still greatest dynasty- the Adamses, the only family in our history to play a leading role in American affairs for nearly two centuries. From John, the self-made, tough-minded lawyer who rose to the highest office in the government he helped create; to John Quincy, the child prodigy who grew up amid foreign royalty, followed his father to the White House, and later reinvented himself as a champion of liberty in Congress; to politician and writer Charles Francis, the only well-balanced Adams; to Henry, brilliant scholar and journalist- the Adamses achieved longer-lasting greatness than any other American family. Brookhiser's canvass starts in colonial America, when John Adams had to teach himself the law and ride on horseback for miles to find clients. It does not end until after the Titanic sinks- Henry had booked a room but changed his plans- and World War I begins, with Henry near the action in France. The story of this single family offers a short course in the nation's history, because for nearly two hundred years Adams history was American history. The Adamses were accompanied by an impressive cast of characters, from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, to Andrew Jackson and Ulysses Grant, to Teddy Roosevelt. America's First Dynasty offers telling portraits of the great men of our past, and many of the women around them. John and Abigail's great love affair was destined to be repeated by their offspring and offspring's offspring. As with any family, there was a darker side to the Adams story: many of its members were abject failures. Alcoholism was a familiar specter, and suicide was not unknown. Only one of the four great Adamses was a kind man and father; the others set standards so impossibly high that few of their children could meet them. Yet despite more than a century of difference from John to Henry, certain Adams traits remained the same. In the story of our first and still-greatest family, we can all see something of our own struggles with family, fate, and history.
Abraham Lincoln grew up in the long shadow of the Founding Fathers. Seeking an intellectual and emotional replacement for his own taciturn father, Lincoln turned to the great men of the founding#151;Washington, Paine, Jefferson#151;and their great documents#151;the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution#151;for knowledge, guidance, inspiration, and purpose. Out of the power vacuum created by their passing, Lincoln emerged from among his peers as the true inheritor of the Founders' mantle, bringing their vision to bear on the Civil War and the question of slavery. In Founders' Son, celebrated historian Richard Brookhiser presents a compelling new biography of Abraham Lincoln that highlights his lifelong struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers. Following Lincoln from his humble origins in Kentucky to his assassination in Washington, D. C. , Brookhiser shows us every side of the man: laborer, lawyer, congressman, president; storyteller, wit, lover of ribald jokes; depressive, poet, friend, visionary. And he shows that despite his many roles and his varied life, Lincoln returned time and time again to the Founders. They were rhetorical and political touchstones, the basis of his interest in politics, and the lodestars guiding him as he navigated first Illinois politics and then the national scene. But their legacy with not sufficient. As the Civil War lengthened and the casualties mounted Lincoln wrestled with one more paternal figure#151;God the Father#151;to explain to himself, and to the nation, why ending slavery had come at such a terrible price. Bridging the rich and tumultuous period from the founding of the United States to the Civil War, Founders' Son is unlike any Lincoln biography to date. Penetrating in its insight, elegant in its prose, and gripping in its vivid recreation of Lincoln's roving mind at work, this book allows us to think anew about the first hundred years of American history, and shows how we can, like Lincoln, apply the legacy of the Founding Fathers to our times.
In this thought-provoking look at George Washington as soldier and statesman, Richard Brookhiser traces the astonishing achievements of Washington's career and illuminates how his character and his values shaped the beginnings of American politics.
The author of several books on the US founding fathers portrays the politics and pleasure-loving life of the rarely credited draftsman of the Constitution's final form and author of its "We the people" preamble, during the American and French Revolutions. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In 1799, at the end of George Washington's long life and illustrious career, the politician Henry Lee eulogized him as: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Esteemed historian Richard Brookhiser now adds to this list, "First in leadership," examining the lessons to be learned from our first president, first commander-in-chief, and founding CEO.With wit and skill, Brookhiser expertly anatomizes true leadership with lessons from Washington's three spectacularly successful careers as an executive: general, president, and tycoon. In every area of endeavor, Washington maximized his strengths and overcame his flaws. Brookhiser shows how one man's struggles and successes two centuries ago can serve as a model-and an inspiration-for leaders today.
James Madison led one of the most influential and prolific lives in American history, and his story-although all too often overshadowed by his more celebrated contemporaries-is integral to that of the nation. Madison helped to shape our country as perhaps no other Founder: collaborating on the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights, resisting government overreach by assembling one of the nation's first political parties (the Republicans, who became today's Democrats), and taking to the battlefield during the War of 1812, becoming the last president to lead troops in combat. In this penetrating biography, eminent historian Richard Brookhiser presents a vivid portrait of the "Father of the Constitution," an accomplished yet humble statesman who nourished Americans' fledgling liberty and vigorously defended the laws that have preserved it to this day.
Richard Brookhiser wrote his first cover story for National Review at age fourteen, and became the magazine's youngest senior editor at twenty-three. William F. Buckley Jr. was Brookhiser's mentor, hero, and admirer; within a year of Brookhiser's arrival at the magazine, Buckley tapped him as his successor as editor-in-chief. But without warning, the relation ship soured--one day, Brookhiser returned to his desk to find a letter from Buckley unceremoniously informing him "you will no longer be my successor."<P> Brookhiser remained friends and colleagues with Buckley despite the breach, and in Right Time, Right Place he tells the story of that friendship with affection and clarity. At the same time, he provides a delightful account of the intellectual and political ferment of the conservative resurgence that Buckley nurtured and led.<P> Witty and poignant, Right Time, Right Place tells the story of a young man and a political movement coming of age--and of the man who inspired them both.
What would George Washington do about weapons of mass destruction? How would Benjamin Franklin feel about unwed mothers? What would Alexander Hamilton think about minorities in the military? <P> Examining a host of issues from terrorism to women's rights, acclaimed historian Richard Brookhiser reveals why we still turn to the Founders in moments of struggle, farce, or disaster. Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Adams and all the rest have an unshakable hold on our collective imagination. We trust them more than today's politicians because they built our country, they wrote our user's manuals-the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution-and they ran the nation while it was still under warranty and could be returned to the manufacturer. <P> If anyone knows how the U.S.A. should work, it must be the Founders. Brookhiser uses his vast knowledge to apply their views to today's issues. He also explores why what the Founders would think still matters. Written with Brookhiser's trademark eloquence and wit, while drawing on his deep understanding of American history, What Would the Founders Do? sheds new light on the disagreements and debates that have shaped our country from the beginning. Now, more than ever, we need the Founders-inspiring, argumentative, amusing know-it-alls-to help us work through the issues that divide us.