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Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A fresh exploration of the scientific pursuits of the Founding Fathers that reveals their science as critical to the great political "experiment" of the day ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting book. Very accessible and well organized. Enjoyable. The overall thesis of science forming our political system was weak and really unnecessary. What stuck with me was the fact that all these "gentlemen" had to put their interest in science on hold while they tried to get the country organized. Meanwhile the little science bee was buzzing around in their bonnets. ...more
Lucy Irons
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting book that retold the well known story of the American Revolution, but wove in the history of science and invention in the United States. I enjoyed reading about how the scientific thinking and understanding of the time helped shaped the foundation for our country.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well organized. Dates could get a little confusing but he mostly kept it all straightforward. I liked the thematic approach: patents, disease, botany, astronomy, etc. it was fascinating to learn about the era from a different perspective.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a very interesting book that was well researched and corroborated with other books I have read about the founding fathers. This book put together how curiosity, scientific exploration and necessity played a role in the minds of the founding fathers, and the colonist in general, to decide to break from England. Thinking more about experiments and what results are achieved led to the concept of forming a different sort of government. A government of the people and the individual states bei ...more
Eric Wurm
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Can you remember a time when the most intelligent people were the people that governed society? Neither can I. That's because we have never lived during such a time.

Tom Schactman's book examines the relationship between the founding fathers of the American nation and their relationship to the beginnings of science. While the late 18th and early 19th centuries were an important historical moment in history, great ignorance pervaded the beliefs and practices of much of the world. Some of the peop
Jonathan Jeckell
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A look at the birth and early years of American science, and its interactions with the American Revolution and formative years of the United States. Many of the founders were personally involved in science and demonstrably liked it and it permeated their thinking and writing. But this isn't just about the founders, but about how the general awakening and scientific literacy of the public helped propel sentiments supporting independence, and how that same scientific literacy and curiosity helped ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

This is a highly readable account of the contributions to science and technology by the founders of the United States of America and the role that science played in the success of the Revolution and the success of the new nation.

For example, George Washington's realization that the health of his troops was crucial to success on the battlefield resulted in his insistence that the soldiers be inoculated against small p
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, reviews
This was a DNF for me, although it had nothing to do with Tom Shachtman. As a lifelong lover of Benjamin Franklin, I have read multiple biographies and histories about his life, political actions, scientific endeavors, and philosophies. Mr. Shactman's book was unquestionably well-researched, and well-written, though in parts it was a bit out of order. I wanted to like this book, and I think it will be enjoyable for anyone looking for an introduction to the Founding Fathers.

I received an ARC of t
William Schram
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Using the correspondence of the Founding Fathers as support, Shachtman describes how the Founding Fathers were men of science as well as men of letters and gentlemen. It speaks of the founding of some colleges and how the required courses were changed in some others. While the book was interesting, some aspects were not, and I found myself losing interest somewhere in the middle. I did find the energy to read all the way through it though so...

I probably wouldn't read it again, since it is more
Jeffrey Jacobs
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating overview of the lives and scientific contributions of the giants of the new world Enlightenment. It doesn't only cover the big men of the day like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson but also Payne and Rittenhouse and the other minor scientific players. The discussion of early Virulation was fascinating and the history of the Patent Office fascinating! The only major detractor was that by following a chronological order, the story has a tendency to bounce back and forth betw ...more
Ken Angle
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had assumed it was a chronicle about science and the founding fathers. In fact it is an exceptionally insightful book of colonial times,mores and religion. It is interesting to see the great minds grapple to develop their own concept of God. It was also fascinating to see how these giants of their times dealt with and profited by technology.
Lois Plale
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Although it could be a little dry at times, this book shows that the Founders of this country were also scientists and incorporated their scientific knowledge in the setting up of the government and incorporating it into encouraging this country to grow.
Robbie Ellis
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The writer clearly did their research on this very intriguing tome. History comes alive in the exploration of the forward thinking of our Nations founders. This is a great read for anyone wanting to study the founders, or just someone interested in the history of science in this country.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Well-researched, but dryly written.
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Since I always wanted to be a writer, I consider myself fortunate to have had my work published and produced in many forms—40 histories, novels, and books for children, plus filmed documentaries and TV dramas, poetry, plays, songs, newspaper columns, magazine articles, even a comic book.


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