The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture
Noah Webster's name is now synonymous with the dictionary he created, but although there is much more to his story than that singular achievement, his rightful place in American h ...more
I don’t like Noah Webster. He’s arrogant and antisocial. He’s obsessive-compulsive and anal-retentive. He’s a shameless self-promoter, a notorious griper and, later in life, a pious blowhard. And as Joshua Kendall shows us in his fine biography Forgotten Founding Father, those were exactly the kinds of traits that made Noah Webster so good at what he did. Indeed, as a compulsive compiler and hunter and gatherer of information, We ...more
What keeps me from giving this book 5 stars is that Kendall did not support th ...more
Secondly, this book was about as interesting as choosing between bisque and eggshell paint. While there were moments that piqued interest they couldn't be maintained.
Anyway, I hope my next non-fiction selection is better tha ...more
It seems, much as I would wish it otherwise, that what drove Noah Webster to codify the language of his country was perpetual disdain for what he viewed as nonstandard English. Th ...more
Since I have so many ancestors who lived in New England at teh same time, I did fin ...more
At one point the author suggests that a the handful of articles Webster wrote in support of the new Constitution was more influential than The Federalist Papers. Such "puffery" abounds. What would/should have been a more straightforward biography of a man known for his dictionary instead becomes an attempt to align him with the Founders (when he was simply ...more
On the positive side, the author did well, I thought, at neither canonizing or demonizing Noah Webster. Webster was, it seems clear, a very difficult character to like. I also thought that the descriptions of Webster's traits and behavior ...more
Through his work developing America's first dictionary and other related publicat ...more
Noah Webster was born in 1758 in Con ...more
I take some exception to the title of the book as somewhat misleading bu ...more
Mr. Webster had the good fortune of being able to direct his worst personal qualities and neurosis into productive activity. Words were like a balm to his nervous disposition – when he felt anxious he would fill a tub full of adjectives, take a long soak and towel off with a spelling b ...more
Noah Webster: commonly thought of as the author of Webster's Dictionary was more than your typical colonist. Joshua Kendall's drawn out Biography into the life of Noah Webster not only provides an imperviously detailed exposition into the life of the lexicographer but it also accomplishes it's goal described in the title by portraying him as a man who was "obsessed with the creation of an American culture."
Aside from the Dictionary, Kendall makes effort to show Webster's other contributions to s...more
This is a full biography of Webster, not just an examination of his most famous work, and in fact it's not until about two-thirds of the way through the book that we see his dictionary begin to take shape. Logophiles may skim through the earlier stages of Webster's life to get to the good stuff, but they will miss out on the foundation of Kendall's compelling argument; namely that his masterpiece would never have been completed if it weren ...more
He had many faults but perseverance was his main virtue.
I have always loved his house which is now located in my hometown of Dearborn, MI at Henry Ford's outdoor museum, Greenfield Village, having been moved there in 1938 from New Have, CT.
One reason is that Noah Webster is not a character you want to like or emulate. Awkward, pompous, dry.
Everything in me screamed that I *should* like this book; it's about words, for pity's sake. Eventually I got into ...more