Forgotten Founders

America’s Forgotten Founders
© 2011 ed. Gary Gregg II
185 pages

After reading several thoughtful full-length biographies in this series, I expected the same quality in miniature from this collection. That is not the case at all; after a lengthy opening essay on what constitutes a founding father, and why some are forgotten and others not, the reader is treated to ten brief articles about revolutionary-area personalities. Some of these men are unequivocally  not forgotten, like Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine. A few others are more obscure, but the information included here is so slight that one could just as well read any entry in a biographical dictionary about them. I liked the organization of each article: a biographical sketch, an outline of their chief contributions, and an excerpt of their writing. There’s just not enough content here. One gentleman’s writing excerpt is the Preamble of the Constitution. The full-length volumes in this series, particularly American Cicero and The Cost of Liberty are much more helpful.

The men considered:  James Wilson, George Mason, Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, Roger Sherman, John Marshall, John Dickinson, Tom Paine, Patrick Henry, and John Witherspoon. According to the introduction, many names were submitted and considered, but the editor chose the names which were suggested most often. The native American and female contributors teased at in the introduction don’t actually get sketches.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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10 Responses to Forgotten Founders

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    This would be right up my ally. The American Revolutionary era is kind of my thing. I agree that some of these men are not really forgotten. However, a few of them I have hardly heard of. I might give this a read.

  2. R. T. Davis says:

    Hmmm. I can skip this one. Thanks for your fine review. I’m now deep into the H. W. Brands bio of Ben Franklin. Good stuff!

  3. Mudpuddle says:

    i've thought that it's difficult to appreciate what it was like for those men, knowing that they were very probably taking their lives into their hands and risking everything for what was tacitly a stab in the dark for possibly not very good reasons… amazing that so many actually took the leap…

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. It's a shame it wasn't of better quality, I had high hopes at first. I am also kind of burned-out on the Revolutionary War right now, so it is probably for the best.

  6. Stephen says:

    It's on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that!

  7. Stephen says:

    Franklin was a larger than life fellow! Any biography of him would be interesting, I imagine.

  8. Stephen says:

    Yes, especially the men who signed the declaration. Not only their lives but their family's livelihoods would have been destroyed had Parliament not tired of the war.

  9. Stephen says:

    I MOSTLY read it to clear my kindle — I'm planning on ending my KU subscription next month. Not reading enough of its titles to justify the $10/month fee.

  10. Good call. I have been contemplating the same thing. Just not reading enough of those available right now, I've got too many other books sitting around waiting for me!

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