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Shelly's Book Journal

The 3 Rs: Reading, Reviews & Recs.

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The Civil War, Vol. 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian
Shelby Foote
Progress: 380/976 pages

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation - Joseph J. Ellis This is a book of six essays written about pivotal moments in the founding of our country. They include:The Duel between Hamilton and Burr.The Behind the Scenes meetings that led to passage of Hamilton's financial plan and the location of the capital on the Potomac.The Silence agreed upon by all when the topic of slavery arose.The Farewell - Washington's address, what it stood for and what his presidency meant.The Collaboration - How Adams-Jefferson had a great partnership that split leading to the Jefferson-Madison team and Adams dependence on his wife. It also shaped the post Washington era.The Friendship - How Adams and Jefferson renewed their friendship via letters in the last years of their lives.Some of these moments have arguably been over analyzed and flown as talking points for the Revolution, but Ellis explores them all with light detail, enough to entice others to take their interests further in the topics. It lays out some truths as to the hows and whys that some things happened. I particularly enjoyed "The Silence" because so often the Founding Fathers are criticized for their lack of a stand on the issue and the silence exuded through many years. Ellis briefly surmises the challenges faced in undoing it and a fragile union that tottered in the balance, and the knowledge by some that the solution would involve the shedding of blood. Easy to say today "woulda, coulda, shoulda."Ellis is a lover of the Adams family and admits it in the intro to the book. His best sections are in discussing Adams and his character - where he obviously has the most insight. After personally having read Chernow's books on Washington and Hamilton, I was interested to see if Ellis himself painted a similar picture of the main players in his book - he does for the most part. Worth noting is the character analysis of Jefferson - as a current resident of VA, Jefferson has been the "Holy Grail" of all Virginians and the details shared by both authors (Ellis and Chernow) are virtually the same. Jefferson's duplicity and behind the scenes sabotage successfully assaulted the reputations of many great men.This is a great introduction into post revolutionary America and the men that shaped our nation. Recommended for American History lovers!