Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, September 23, 2009
This review is from: What Would the Founders Do?: Our Questions, Their Answers (Hardcover)
This book came as a gift last Christmas. At first it didn't look like it was going to have much to offer - a short and simple book from yet another writer trying to retroactively impose the views and opinions of the Founders on today's issues and events. But, it was a gift, and so it was thrown onto the "books to read" stack where it figured to be short work before getting relegated to the miscellaneous section of the history shelf on the bookcase. It did not take too many pages to realize that first impressions, in this instance, were quite wrong. This book has a good deal to say and it does so consistently and efficiently from beginning to end. In good, clean form it takes a single idea and looks at it from a different angle in each chapter. The end result is a book that is thorough, to the point, and enjoyable to read.

While the title indicates that this is simply a book about how the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and the rest of the founding bunch would deal with today's issues, there is something more to be had from this book. And that something is an important point which has been frequently lost on recent generations of Americans. It's almost assumed at this point to speak about the American Founders as though they were a unified body in both action and thought. Before considering how "the founders" might deal with our issues, and when considering how they actually dealt with their issues, it needs to be understood, first and foremost, that as a whole they never really agreed all that much with each other about anything, other then the fact they wanted to be rid of English rule - and even with that there was some squabbling.

The reason that this point is one of importance is that when we hear of the Founders today, and we do quite a bit from quite a few, it always seems to be from someone representing a particular interest group (a politician, an educator, a journalist, or some other hack-intellectual) who is speaking to us about the founders as if they were pinning their name onto their lapels suggesting that "the founders" as a whole, would support us. This is almost never the case. And this is a book, whether or not by design, that does a superb job of speaking to that point.

This is a worthwhile read for fans of history, or fans of reading period. And, as it did for me, it will make an excellent gift. Recommended to anybody - 5 stars.
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