Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History
In a landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinx explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed men–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–set the course for our nation.
Joseph Ellis illuminates the profoundly deep bonds and the often fractious, sometimes blind, efforts of the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–to realize strikingly different visions of America. During their own time, and even more so in ours, the Founding Fathers were perceived as demigods no more tainted than marble statues by the stain of imperfect humanity. Ellis’s penetrating analysis of six fascinating historical episodes, including Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s Farewell Address, and the correspondence between Jefferson and Adams, brings these statues to life and their visions into focus.
“A splendid book–humane, learned, written with flair and radiant with a calm intelligence and wit.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Masterful…. Fascinating…. Ellis is an elegant stylist…. [He] captures the passion the founders brought to the revolutionary project…. [A] very fine book.”–Chicago Tribune
“Learned, exceedingly well-written, and perceptive.”–The Oregonian
“Lucid…. Ellis has such command of the subject matter that it feels fresh, particularly as he segues from psychological to political, even to physical analysis…. Ellis’s storytelling helps us more fully hear the Brothers’ voices.”–Business Week
“Splendid…. Revealing…. An extraordinary book. Its insightful conclusions rest on extensive research, and its author’s writing is vigorous and lucid.”–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WINNER 2001 - Pulitzer Prize (History)
Joseph J. Ellis is the author of several books of American history, among them Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, which won the 1997 National Book Award. He was educated at the College of William and Mary and Yale University and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, and three sons.