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Saving General Washington Paperback – May 18, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Norton uses his firm grasp on current political events as a hook into the excellent contemporary literature on the founding fathers, creating a text that's easy to read if you are familiar with either -- and entertaining if you're familiar with both. It's hip and full of witty references -- but never to the point where it gets cutesy or the author becomes more into himself than the idea. I was most impressed by his ability to pull from historical research to provide a concise argument without getting lost in the details or horribly glossing over the historical subject matter.
One criticism could be that it doesn't go extremely deep into the history, but I'd argue that it serves its purpose by providing a good entree into the subject matter for those interested. There's worse things one could do than convince someone to pick up the latest McCullough biography. I'd also recommend Gordon Woods for anyone into these ideas.
For an example of the style, take Norton's discussion of business and politics -- where he contrasts Bush / Cheney to Franklin. Norton's description of Franklin, 'the official funny fat guy of the founding fathres and the nation's inspirationally folksy old bastard' is on the mark and hilarious. Norton does and excellent job of doing what our schools should have done -- reveal these old codges for the fascinating, contradictory, but ultimately foresighted people that they were and suggesting what lasting principles we might learn from them.Read more ›
Norton's dry wit makes the book a true pleasure and frequently had me laughing out loud as few books have (with the possible exception of the Daily Show's America: The Book).
I couldn't recommend it more strongly.
Filled with illuminating (and often quite amusing) quotes from the founding fathers' letters, books and speeches, this book transforms the remote, infallible, wig-wearing deities of elementary school parables and the "heads" side of money into real, flesh and blood men. By the end of the book (which I devoured in a single sitting), I felt like I KNEW these guys. But more importantly, I was reminded of how much I love this country and what it stands for, despite how horrifying and frightening I find its current leadership and policies. And, above all, how vital it is that the progressive, rational, tolerant, civic-minded people of this country -- the rightful cultural and political descendents of the founders -- fight to take it back.
Second, the book is a lively primer on the founding texts of the United States, including the Federalist Papers, Common Sense, and Locke's Second Treatise. It also introduces and allows the reader to sample a number of excellent recent biographies on Hamilton, Tom Paine, and others. It should encourage readers to explore this period more deeply.
Third, the book is damn funny. The "Alternative Universe Daily Spectator" columns imagine what it would look like if George Bush were to follow the Founders' example on the PATRIOT Act, energy policy, or the intelligent design/evolution debate.
Highly recommended for general readers interested in history, political thought, and biography, and for advanced high school/introductory undergraduate American Government classes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was very interested in reading this book after flipping through the pages, and I was intrigued by the topic. Read morePublished on January 4, 2009 by T.G.
Kudos for J.R. Norton for pulling together our Founding Fathers and our current foundering, floundering politicians. Read morePublished on August 5, 2007 by Got Book?
Like the previous reviewer, I read this text in one sitting. It's well-written, insightful, and useful for any folks like me who have a huge critique of the current administration... Read morePublished on June 19, 2006 by Constance Steinkuehler