Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Review (#24 of 2008)

Long drives on the holidays are good for knocking out books.

Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different by Gordon Wood is a great history of several of our Founding Fathers. Pulitzer prize winner Wood has compiled a lot of information from essays and other sources over the years and condensed them into neatly packaged chapters on each founder.

I enjoyed the explanation of what it meant to be a "gentleman" in the 1700s, and how public service was something seen as a voluntary burden to bear on behalf of the people (ie: the foresaking of private wealth for an impoverished life as a public servant).

The most intriguing biographies for me were those of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Madison was once a proponent of a strong federal government until he saw what that was meaning in the new U.S. and later became a staunch advocate of states' rights.

Alexander Hamilton envisioned an America with a larger land mass, large government with large debts, large military force, and a modern economy with a prominent central bank. Hamilton is likely the only Founder who would be at home in America today.

This book would have been perfect without the Epilogue. I find introductions and epilogues to be ways that authors slide their own personal sermons in.

4.5 stars out of 5.

2 comments:

justin said...

I try to "regurgitate Gordon Wood" as much as possible. He is a pretty darn good historian.

http://hnn.us/blogs/comments/27243.html

JTapp said...

I should note again that all these audio books I got for $1 a piece at a garage sale. I plan on selling them at a used book store this week and making profit.