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The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson (Lives of the Founders) Hardcover – September 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Lives of the Founders
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (September 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933859946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933859941
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“John Dickinson’s vigorous defense of Americans’ rights as Englishmen won him renown throughout the colonies in the 1760s, but his refusal to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776 diminished his reputation and came to be unfairly seen as his defining moment. . . . With The Cost of Liberty, a brisk, admiring biography, journalist William Murchison provides a fuller portrait.”
Wall Street Journal

“[A] thoughtful and highly readable biography . . . Mr. Murchison, who illuminates a complex period in our history and with a sure and often novelistic touch brings his subject back to vivid life, makes a powerful and convincing case for restoring John Dickinson to his rightful place in the first rank of the Founders.”
Washington Times

“One can read hundreds of biographies of the wor­thy men and women from the founding era, and this would be on the short list of those most beautifully written. . . . William Murchison has done his duty to what is left of the republic by restoring to us in charming and trenchant prose one of its greatest early leaders. This is an achieve­ment I will pass along to my students and recommend to all lovers of liberty.”
Chronicles

“[We should] be grateful that the veteran journalist William Murchison has chosen to employ his incomparable pen and vivid historical imagination in the cause of bringing back to life one of the most underrated and misunderstood of the Founders, whose intelligence and courage are badly needed in our time. . . . Murchison gives us a surprisingly riveting narrative. . . . Murchison shows with especial care and poignancy how much of a loss to the American conservative intellectual tradition, and to conservative ways of reading the Declaration and the Constitution, our neglect of Dickinson has been.”
The American Conservative

“John Dickinson is perhaps the most neglected and least understood of the Founders of our nation. A man of principle and wisdom, Dickinson influenced the course of events and shaped the outcome in critical ways. William Murchison has brought him to life and cleared up some vital areas of the Founding. This book is truly a must read.
Forrest McDonald, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum

The Cost of Liberty is a delightful book—lively, warm, amusing, and intelligent. It brings a brave and wise man splendidly back to life.”
Richard Brookhiser, author of James Madison and What Would the Founders Do?

“John Dickinson is the most neglected of the true giants of the American War for Independence. Bill Murchison has written a book finally, and fully, worthy of the author of more of our nation’s founding documents than any other man. This biography will stand for the ages.
John Willson, professor emeritus of history at Hillsdale College

“Like his biographical subject, John Dickinson, William Murchison possesses wisdom, a felicitous prose style, and a shrewd understanding, as Murchison puts it, of ‘the value of no in political affairs.’ The Cost of Liberty is a gem.
Bill Kauffman, author of Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin

This splendid new account of John Dickinson represents the perfect marriage of subject and author. It is hard to think of a Founder more deserving of a second and third look than the admirable Dickinson. And it is hard to think of a writer more worthy of our admiration than Bill Murchison, a master of the English language.”
Wilfred M. McClay, Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma

 

About the Author

William Murchison is a widely published author, journalist, and commentator who specializes in historical and cultural subjects. A former editor at the Dallas Morning News, he is a nationally syndicated columnist and has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, First Things, the American Spectator, Chronicles, the Washington Times, and other publications. Murchison holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Texas and for five years served as Radford Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Baylor University. He lives in Texas.


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Customer Reviews

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Albert Alioto on October 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an engaging short biography of a Founder who deserves to be more widely known. John Dickinson is noted as the author of LETTERS FROM A FARMER IN PENNSYLVANIA and controversial for his refusal to sign the Declaration of Independence. As William Murchison makes clear, Dickinson was not opposed to American independence, but believed that it should not be declared until the colonies were better prepared for war with Great Britain. It is hard to see how that could have been considered unreasonable.

Can there ever be a time when there is not a place for the man or woman who will stand in front of those in a hurry to act and ask, "Are you sure about what you want to do?" If we might not always have a Dickinson, we will always have Murchison's book to remind the rest of us to ask those questions.

It seems to me that it would not be a bad thing for the country if each incoming president was required to read THE COST OF LIBERTY.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul on December 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Murchison has written an outstanding biography of John Dickinson, a powerful account of a Founding Father who, for years, has stood in the shadows of our understanding of the birth of this republic.

Having recently read Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 I had to order this book, as so much of the work by Beeman on American independence was focused on the non radical element of men attending the Constitution Convention in Philadelphia before the war began.

John Dickinson was foremost among the leaders of Pennsylvania, and was very cautious about relations with England, in the hopes that America could resolve the differences between the colonies and the Crown (mostly Parliament) and resume the peaceful and prosperous relations that had been the norm.
Even after the blood that was spilled at Lexington and Concord, men like Dickinson feared that emotions from the colonies in the northeast (primarily Massachusetts) would encourage Americans to embark on a journey of revolution that would, in the end, create more problems than solutions.

Dickinson was from a powerful family of Quakers with holdings in Pennsylvania and Delaware. In his youth he went to London and studied law at the Middle Temple. He was a scholarly man and attained much fame when he published Letters From A Farmer in Pennsylvania in November 1767, stating some of the causes of dissent among the colonists as a result of the misdeeds of the ministers of England, along with the Parliament, and a very stubborn George III.
Some called him the pen man of the revolution.
Read more ›
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy S. Sharpe on February 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very enlightening and readable book about Dickinson and his times, who until I read this was only a name I knew. Especially interesting for me as a native of Pennsylvania now living in Delaware, the two states Dickinson lived in.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By avidreader on March 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We know these founding fathers but too many people who made great contributions are forgotten.This series of books catches us up on those forgotten heroes. Learn about them and you will have great respect for the large number of man and women that helped form this nation.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shawn McAllister on July 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Described perfectly! Exactly what I expected.
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