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The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  208 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Here is a vividly written and compact overview of the brilliant, flawed, and quarrelsome group of lawyers, politicians, merchants, military men, and clergy known as the "Founding Fathers"--who got as close to the ideal of the Platonic "philosopher-kings" as American or world history has ever seen.
In The Founding Fathers Reconsidered, R. B. Bernstein reveals Washington, Fr
Paperback, 238 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published April 3rd 2009)
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May 16, 2013 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I studied history in college and even though I had classes in American history it was not my emphasis. I was always puzzled at American historians because in world history we are so far removed from our subject matter that we find it easier to be clinical in our assessment. In American history classes there was a lot of heat, bias, and and low sense of objectivity. It seemed that once we reached 1776 every one was fair game. The irony is that outside of the university there is a strange kind of ...more
Jun 23, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an easy read. The only reason it took so long is that I tend to consume a lot of audio books as I don't get near as much time to sit down with a real book. Overall, it only took a few hours of reading. I did read all the footnotes, and I got lots of ideas for interesting follow on reads. What I learned was when the whole concept of "Founding Fathers" developed. I've been reading a lot on other topics which relate to the "Founding Fathers" and the Constitution. This book did have me recons ...more
Richard Brand
Feb 27, 2012 Richard Brand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairly short work that seemed to be a little repetitive but its basic premise needs to be constantly spoken. The first body of politicians that wrote the Constitution were politicians who were trying to create a certain kind of government. There were a number of issues that they could not solve at the time. There were compromises made because they needed to stay united. There was a compromise that eventually led to the Civil War. The current on going debate about original intent has b ...more
Book was far too short to cover its material well.
Also, I felt it didn't bring anything new to the discussion. The founding fathers were not perfect. Everybody knows this. Moreover, after reading this I do not feel as I know the founding fathers better.
However, this book does contain some very interesting facts like who coined the term "founding fathers." This is also an easy read.
My score is somewhere between 2 and 3.
Apr 21, 2011 Jean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting tour through the times of the formation of our country, but I didn't gain as much insight into the characters of the founding fathers as I expected. More about the ideas they struggled with and the lasting impact of their documents instead of personalities in more detail. Deteriorates toward the end when it gets into "Legacies." I guess the problem is that I wanted a different book than the author wanted to write.
Jun 21, 2013 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reasonable overview of the founding fathers (and mothers), the ideas and issues they battled with, political climate at the time and brief history of how the nation thinks of and reveres the founding fathers over time. A little repetitive.
A good primer for those who haven't read many revolutionary war biographies to better understand the timing and dynamics of the founding of these(the) United States.
Or you could rent 1776 on DVD.
Nikki Wilson
Sep 24, 2014 Nikki Wilson rated it it was amazing
Good overview of the founding fathers and their choices & actions in framing the Constitution and America. My only complaint is with the title of the book. There really isn't anything "new" being presented in this book to "reconsider." Still, the material was presented well and the book was pretty engaging. I would recommend a read.
Selena (Life of a Random)

I'm done. PRAISE. Now I have to write a paper >.<

On the slightly more serious side, I really enjoyed reading this book. I learned a lot about the founding fathers and how the constitution was formed... and I really appreciate that it opened up a less ideal and a more realistic/pragmatic vantage point.

A good, accessible introduction to the complexity of the people and era when the U.S. was founded. I particularly liked the discussions surrounding "original intent" interpretation of the Constitution. I felt like it just touched the surface, but to go further would probably have made for a much longer book, and perhaps have discouraged those with a more casual interest in history.
Aug 05, 2010 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not as good as his Jefferson book, this book is a very quick and dirty introduction to some of the founders. My biggest complaint is that it seems a bit purposeless. The information isn't bad, but I'm sure you can get most of it from reading his Jefferson book.
Eugene Procknow
Excellent analysis which dispels common myths. A sort but compelling read
Blake Maddux
Anyone who is inclined to read this book will not learn anything that he or she did not already know. "The Founding Fathers Re-written About" would have been a more fitting title.
May 06, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very timely book. More of us need to read this with all the banter thrown around about "founding fathers" and "original intent."
Feb 18, 2012 Rosanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I really, really wanted to read this, but it was just a bit too dense for my old head. May try it again one day.
Mark Cheathem
An excellent summary of the importance of the founding generation.
Peter A.  van Tilburg
Interesting picture pf the people who stood for the new America
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Feb 08, 2012
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Jul 10, 2014
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