9 Must Reads On Our Founding Fathers

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 3:53pm -- lwhite

While Independence Day might not be here yet, we are kicking off the Fourth of July weekend by celebrating the lives of our Founding Fathers. We created a list of great reads that showcase the remarkable personalities that created our country. Do you have any favorites we left out?

 

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow 

This excellent biography covers the entire breadth of Washington's life, from adventures in his early years to his groundbreaking years as our first president. Chernow masterfully breaks though the stiff stereotype of Washington and brings him to life as a passionate leader. 



 

 

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis

For a man who insisted that life on the public stage was not what he had in mind, Thomas Jefferson certainly spent a great deal of time in the spotlight--and not only during his active political career. In his twilight years Jefferson was already taking on the luster of a national icon, and in the subsequent seventeen decades of his celebrity--now verging, thanks to virulent revisionists and television documentaries, on notoriety--has been inflated beyond recognition of the original person. Ellis sifts the facts shrewdly from the legends and the rumors, treading a path between vilification and hero worship in order to formulate a plausible portrait of the man.

 

 

 

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams has received widespread acclaim, a Pulitzer Prize, and even spawned an HBO miniseries based on the book. In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- "the colossus of independence," as Thomas Jefferson called him -- who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution who rose to become the second President of the United States.




 



The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

 

Considered to be one of the most famous autobiographies, this work provides in entertaining insight into the life of one of the most influential historical figures. 




 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This biography is a New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton! Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America.





Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr  by Nancy Isenberg

A controversial challenge to the works of Ron Chernow and David McCullough With Fallen Founder , Nancy Isenberg plumbs rare and obscure sources to shed new light on everyone's favorite founding villain. The Aaron Burr whom we meet through Isenberg's eye-opening biography is a feminist, an Enlightenment figure on par with Jefferson, a patriot, and, most importantly, a man with powerful enemies in an age of vitriolic political fighting.





 

 

Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouveneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution by Richard Brookhiser


Gouverneur Morris' story is one that should be known by every American -- after all, he drafted the Constitution, and his hand lies behind many of its most important phrases. Yet he has been lost in the shadows of the Founders who became presidents and faces on our currency. As Brookhiser shows in this sparkling narrative, Morris's story is not only crucial to the founding, it is also one of the most entertaining and instructive of all. 



 


James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Louis Ketchum 

Ketchum's biography not only traces the illustrious political career of James Maddison, but delves into the less noted private life of our fourth president. 







Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis


This Pulitzer Prize winner explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation. This is a great read for those wanting an overview of personalities and issues that arouse with the founding of America.