A Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic—John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
[Ellis's] object is to include only what is significant, and to untwist the raveled strands of rumor woven about their lives. In assessing their stature, Ellis prefers 'brothers' to 'fathers' as the less adoring term; but unlike Strachey, a true iconoclast, he never veers toward caricature ... This is a splendid book -- humane, learned, written with flair and radiant with a calm intelligence and wit. Even those familiar with 'the Revolutionary generation' will, I would warrant, find much in its pages to captivate and enlarge their understanding of our nation's fledgling years.
Ellis has established himself as the Founders’ historian for our time ... Ellis has tried to select and highlight certain episodes or relationships involving the leading Founders during the first decade or so following the creation of the new national government. He has used these episodes or relationships to reveal both the characters of the major figures and the contingencies that surrounded their nation-building efforts. The result is a remarkable set of very engaging stories that can be read independently of one another ... Founding Brothers is a wonderful book, one of the best collections of essays on the Founders ever written ... He has succeeded admirably in making clear and intelligible many of the confusing contradictions of the time, and turned the Founders into palpable human beings, each with his distinctive achievements and flaws.
The feelings as well as the ideologies of very serious men...in dispute and yet in fraternity, present a complex tableau ... Ellis's account is rich in knowledge lightly worn, a work of deep scholarship successfully masquerading as popular history.