This biography ought to rehabilitate an appealing, major if second-ranking figure of the early nation. Gouverneur Morris has been overlooked, surmises Brookhiser (America's First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735-1918), because he was among "the solid rather than the glittering." If so, Morris had a more penetrating mind, a more buoyant disposition and a more lusty character than most of his contemporaries. He may have been a rake, but he appears to have been a lovable and admirable one-a thoughtful lover (greatly loved in return by women, including Talleyrand's mistress, whom he shared with the Frenchman), a keen observer of history, an early opponent of slavery, and an optimistic and unembittered man despite grievous bodily injuries. More important, he played key roles in the nation's first years. We owe the Constitution's great preamble, as well as many of the document's key phrases and all of its style, to Morris's pen. Observing the French Revolution up close in Paris and serving as ambassador to France at the height of the Terror, he recorded what he saw in a classic diary. The author's characteristic strengths are on display here, no doubt because he's writing of another of the founding generation's conservative figures, his longtime subjects. Sometimes letting facts suffice for interpretation, Brookhiser, a senior editor for the National Review and a columnist for the New York Observer, leaves a reader unsure of where to place Morris, how to understand his significance. But no one will fail to be charmed by this man of fortitude and achievement who "savored life."
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Acclaimed historian Brookhiser provides an absolutely delightful biography of America's least renowned Founding Father. Revisiting the life and times of Gouverneur Morris, he has also added a new chapter to the history of the Constitution. Born to an aristocratic New York family, Morris was exposed to the politics of both the loyalists and the revolutionaries at an early age. Opting to throw his weight behind the cause of liberty, he became a member of the Constitutional Convention, reshaped and reworded the proposed Constitution, and penned the celebrated Preamble. Equally as interesting as his political contributions was his colorful private life. An inveterate womanizer, the witty, fashionably attired, one-legged Mr. Morris entertained a string of mistresses across two continents. The third installment in Brookhiser's series of tributes to the Founding Fathers (Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, 1996; Alexander Hamilton, American, 1999) offers another fascinating portrait of a man at the crossroads of American history. Margaret Flanagan
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Brookhiser does his usual excellent job of not only providing a portrait of an individual but puts him in the context of his time and contemporaries. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ecotraveler
As a history buff I always enjoy finding something I knew nothing about. Well written about a very intersting personPublished 5 months ago by Larry L kelly
Good book. Unfortunately there was some damage to the hard cover. It had apparently been bent. Otherwise, a good book.Published 6 months ago by Matthew Stewart
Wonderful history….. a story that seems to have been forgotten or never known, presented here in a wonderful way.Published 8 months ago by C. Young
I am an avid reader of American historical figures. I try to read several books about the same person/event to ensure an accurate depiction.Published 17 months ago by Thomas Ambs
Le personnage, de même que sa biographie sont exceptionnels. Hamilton et Morris sont les grands oubliés de l' histoire américaine.Published on December 14, 2012 by Alain Nantel
I really enjoyed this book about an important founding father that I had not known much about. The author did a great job of describing Morris's large personality and the... Read morePublished on November 6, 2012 by Philly
It was a very good book. I had never heard of Gouverneur Morris until I read a fictional novel about Thomas Jefferson during his Paris years. Read morePublished on June 19, 2012 by CarolofAuburn
Gentleman Revolutionary is not one of those weighty biographies that tells you every minutia related to its subject's life. Read morePublished on May 17, 2012 by Robert A. Byrne