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Something That Will Surprise the World: The Essential Writings of the…

von Susan Dunn

Weitere Autoren: Joseph J. Ellis (Vorwort)

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The Founding Fathers--Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison. Subjects of seemingly infinite biographies, they are rarely allowed to speak to us in their own words. But it was their words that mattered most to them. As James Madison once wrote, "the biography of an author must be a history of his writings." Here, finally, these towering figures come together in one volume--in conversation with each other, and with us. The Founders were thinking revolutionaries--they read, questioned, debated, and, most of all, wrote. They theorized about government and political institutions; considered the problem of parties and factions; and reflected on religion and education. In this volume, eminent historian Susan Dunn brings together the Founders' most important letters, speeches, and essays and sets them in the context of their lives and times. Through their words, the Founders created the first democracy of the modern world. Their courage, imagination, and genius would never be surpassed. Here they are, in the present tense of their extraordinary lives. To truly understand them, this is where we must begin.… (mehr)
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Williams College Humanities professor Susan Dunn has collected some of the best-known letters and essay excerpts from some of the framers in Something That Will Surprise the World: The Essential Writings of the Founding Fathers. Collections like this are of some limited use in certain cases, but their necessarily subjective nature severely hobbles their usefulness.

Dunn's omission of Benjamin Franklin is rather odd (she includes writings from Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Madison), and while for the most part I found her introductions to the writings of each author fairly good, I felt she over-simplified Hamilton and Madison to dangerous degrees (two-page caricatures of these men - and the others - are hardly adequate).

Distilling the massive collections of the framers' writings into less than a hundred pages apiece is
an effort perhaps destined to the same litany of complaints - why not this letter over that? Why excise this paragraph here? It's simply not an easy thing to do. Dunn has carried it off fairly well, but if you seek a full picture of any particular character here, seek out the wider context.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2007/01/book-review-something-that-will.html ( )
1 abstimmen JBD1 | Jan 27, 2007 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Susan DunnHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Ellis, Joseph J.VorwortCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
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The Founding Fathers--Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison. Subjects of seemingly infinite biographies, they are rarely allowed to speak to us in their own words. But it was their words that mattered most to them. As James Madison once wrote, "the biography of an author must be a history of his writings." Here, finally, these towering figures come together in one volume--in conversation with each other, and with us. The Founders were thinking revolutionaries--they read, questioned, debated, and, most of all, wrote. They theorized about government and political institutions; considered the problem of parties and factions; and reflected on religion and education. In this volume, eminent historian Susan Dunn brings together the Founders' most important letters, speeches, and essays and sets them in the context of their lives and times. Through their words, the Founders created the first democracy of the modern world. Their courage, imagination, and genius would never be surpassed. Here they are, in the present tense of their extraordinary lives. To truly understand them, this is where we must begin.

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