Friday, September 19, 2014

Founders as Fathers - Non-fiction Book Review

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If you love history, then you'll find Lorri Glover's Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries fascinating. The book takes a look at the personal lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, James Madison, and Patrick Henry and juxtaposes them with each man's public and political lives.

I found it interesting that these revolutionary leaders seemed so reluctant to serve in the political sphere because they wanted to be able to spend time with their families. George Mason's contemporaries kept nominating him for stuff, and he kept turning them down because he just didn't want to be away from his wife and children. Thomas Jefferson was fined for not showing up to stuff because he wanted to stay home with his sick wife.

Things began to change, though, in the later years after the revolution, and many men sought out political roles, looking to the new country as their family and wanting to do right by America.

But that's just what it was like for men during this time period. The book also talks about women's roles and slavery. It seems like many men wanted to abolish slavery, but they were just too lazy to do any housework themselves, so they just decided to keep the slaves, even though they felt slavery was morally wrong. These men even compared themselves to slaves under British rule, and yet, they just couldn't do without their own slaves.

And boy did these people have a lot of kids and name them some really weird names, i.e. Bushrod Washington. Where the heck did "Bushrod" come from? And not all their children were upstanding citizens like their "founding" fathers.

If you read nothing else in this book, at least read the Epilogue. It talks about how each of the founding fathers' homes have been turned into museums and tourist attractions, but that's not a modern convention. These homes served as tourist attractions even when all five men were still alive! Imagine having random people show up at your house and wanting to be let inside to see where your father or grandfather lived!

I also have to point out that the author of this book lives in St. Louis, Missouri, but that in no way influenced my review of the book! It is pretty exciting, though, and I'm glad to be able to support a fellow St. Louisan in this way.

Founders as Fathers is published by Yale University Press and is available to purchase now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.


1 comment:

  1. Love hist. fiction, my favorite genre. Although I don't prefer the books that go so far back, I like more recent stuff. Been reading When The Past Came Calling by Larry Kaplan. A great read on the Kennedy assassination. His site is larryskaplan.com, he's a great writer of historical fiction!

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