In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin's life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America's best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard's Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation's alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution. In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
As the British refocused their war on the southern colonies in the hopes of triggering an outbreak of loyalism that would sweep the rebels aside, Lord Cornwallis found himself thinly spread and unable to guard the fifteen thousand square miles he was responsible for.
So Cornwallis went on the offensive, invading North Carolina and using Camden as a launch pad. This new history reveals how Cornwallis was able to use his aggressive strategy to great effect and how the overconfidence of the American forces under Horatio Gates was to result in a shocking defeat on the night of August 15th--a defeat that would allow Cornwallis to push deep into North Carolina, where he would only be stopped by defeat at Yorktown.
The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict.
The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling to maintain a modicum of normalcy as husbands, brothers and fathers died. Yet Berkin also reveals that it was not just the men who fought on the front lines, as in the story of Margaret Corbin, who was crippled for life when she took her husband's place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth. This incisive and comprehensive history illuminates a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence.
"Narrative, celebratory history at its purest" (Publishers Weekly)--the real story of how the Bill of Rights came to be: a vivid account of political strategy, big egos, and the partisan interests that set the terms of the ongoing contest between the federal government and the states.Those who argue that the Bill of Rights reflects the founding fathers' "original intent" are wrong. The Bill of Rights was actually a brilliant political act executed by James Madison to preserve the Constitution, the federal government, and the latter's authority over the states. In the skilled hands of award-winning historian Carol Berkin, the story of the founders' fight over the Bill of Rights comes alive in a drama full of partisanship, clashing egos, and cunning manipulation. In 1789, the nation faced a great divide around a question still unanswered today: should broad power and authority reside in the federal government or should it reside in state governments? The Bill of Rights, from protecting religious freedom to the people's right to bear arms, was a political ploy first and a matter of principle second. The truth of how and why Madison came to devise this plan, the debates it caused in the Congress, and its ultimate success is more engrossing than any of the myths that shroud our national beginnings. The debate over the Bill of Rights still continues through many Supreme Court decisions. By pulling back the curtain on the short-sighted and self-interested intentions of the founding fathers, Berkin reveals the anxiety many felt that the new federal government might not survive--and shows that the true "original intent" of the Bill of Rights was simply to oppose the Antifederalists who hoped to diminish the government's powers. This book is "a highly readable American history lesson that provides a deeper understanding of the Bill of Rights, the fears that generated it, and the miracle of the amendments" (Kirkus Reviews).
From the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy comes the extraordinary first volume of his new trilogy about the American Revolution
Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about World War II, has long been admired for his deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first twenty-one months of America's violent war for independence.
From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world's most formidable fighting force. It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes a brilliant battle captain; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves to be the wiliest of diplomats; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost. The story is also told from the British perspective, making the mortal conflict between the redcoats and the rebels all the more compelling.
Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of our country's creation drama.
National BestsellerAcclaimed historian Joseph J. Ellis brings his unparalleled talents to this riveting account of the early years of the Republic.
The last quarter of the eighteenth century remains the most politically creative era in American history, when a dedicated group of men undertook a bold experiment in political ideals. It was a time of both triumphs and tragedies--all of which contributed to the shaping of our burgeoning nation. Ellis casts an incisive eye on the gradual pace of the American Revolution and the contributions of such luminaries as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, and brilliantly analyzes the failures of the founders to adequately solve the problems of slavery and the treatment of Native Americans. With accessible prose and stunning eloquence, Ellis delineates in American Creation an era of flawed greatness, at a time when understanding our origins is more important than ever.
In the war's waning days, the American Revolution neared collapse when Washington's senior officers were rumored to approach the edge of mutiny.
After the British surrender at Yorktown, the American Revolution blazed on, and as peace was negotiated in Europe, grave problems surfaced at home. The government was broke and paid its debts with loans from France. Political rivalry among the states paralyzed Congress. The army's officers, encamped near Newburgh, New York, and restless without an enemy to fight, brooded over a civilian population indifferent to their sacrifices.
The result was the Newburgh Conspiracy, a mysterious event in which Continental Army officers, disgruntled by a lack of pay and pensions, may have collaborated with nationalist-minded politicians such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris to pressure Congress and the states to approve new taxes and strengthen the central government.
A Crisis of Peace tells the story of a pivotal episode of General Washington's leadership and reveals how the American Revolution really ended: with fiscal turmoil, political unrest, out-of-control conspiracy thinking, and suspicions between soldiers and civilians so strong that peace almost failed to bring true independence.
Two centuries after his death, Alexander Hamilton is shining once more under the world's spotlight--and we need him now more than ever. Hamilton was a self-starter. Scrappy. Orphaned as a child, he came to America with nothing but a code of honor and a hunger to work. He then went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country's financial system, charm New York's most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill. The ultimate underdog, he combined a fearless, independent spirit with a much-needed dose of American optimism. Hamilton died before he could teach us the lessons he learned, but Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life unlocks his core principles--intended for anyone interested in success, romance, money, or dueling. They include: - Speak with Authority Even If You Have None (Career)
- Seduce with Your Strengths (Romance)
- Find Time for the Quills and the Bills (Money)
- Put the Father in Founding Father (Friends & Family)
- Being Right Trumps Being Popular (Leadership) For history buffs and pop-culture addicts alike, this mix of biography, humor, and advice offers a fresh take on a nearly forgotten Founding Father, and will spark a revolution in your own life.
From the most respected chronicler of the early days of the Republic--and winner of both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes--comes a landmark work that rescues Benjamin Franklin from a mythology that has blinded generations of Americans to the man he really was and makes sense of aspects of his life and career that would have otherwise remained mysterious. In place of the genial polymath, self-improver, and quintessential American, Gordon S. Wood reveals a figure much more ambiguous and complex--and much more interesting. Charting the passage of Franklin's life and reputation from relative popular indifference (his death, while the occasion for mass mourning in France, was widely ignored in America) to posthumous glory, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin sheds invaluable light on the emergence of our country's idea of itself.