Joseph J. Ellis’ Founding Brothers

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis | LibraryThing

Ellis, J. J., & Runger, N. (2001). Founding brothers: The revolutionary generation. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books. 9781402505393

Reasons for Reading:  I found the book on the shelf at the HCPL branch where I work. Partially inspired by my girlhood crush on Thomas Jefferson (or was it Ken Howard playing Jefferson in 1776?), I checked out this audiobook. The first copy I borrowed had a scratch so I had to request another copy. The bottom line, though, I eventually got to read this book!

Summary: In shades of Paul Harvey “The Rest of the Story,” Ellis tells of the relationships between those the United States often refers to as the Founding Fathers – John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Ellis pinpoints six different moments which exhibit these relationships in their truest form. These include:

Burr and Hamilton’s deadly duel, and what may have really happened; Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison’s secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton’s financial plan; Franklin’s petition to end the “peculiar institution” of slavery–his last public act–and Madison’s efforts to quash it; Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice; Adams’s difficult term as Washington’s successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son; and finally, Adams and Jefferson’s renewed correspondence at the end of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy.   

– Joseph J. Ellis

Using these events, Ellis supports his claim that these men squabbled as though they were siblings.

What I Liked : Ellis excelled at filling in the blanks as he could. He rendered great portraits of these greats. I knew very little about Aaron Burr other than the “Got Milk?” commercial.

What I Disliked : I wasn’t crazy about the hopping around with the book. I wished Ellis had stayed closer to the original sequence of events.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪But Mr. Adams – 1776 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – YouTube

Setting: Thirteen Colonies, The USA

You might also like:

  • Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis
  • Wolf By the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
For more on Joseph J. Ellis’ Founding brothers…, please check out the following links:

Top Ten Tuesday: Jorie’s Top Ten Authors She’d Love to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists.

Click here to see the upcoming topics!

July 12: Top Ten Authors I Would DIE to meet (living or dead)

1. Elie Wiesel – He’s a survivor and a writer. Additionally, Wiesel tops my list as a person I admire.

2. Thomas Jefferson – He’s my favorite founding father and his genius continues to enthrall.

3. Rachel Carson – She related science in such a way that an artsy-fartsy type such as myself could actually “get it.”  

4. Sarah Dessen – If meeting her is anything like reading her books, then I’m there!  

5. Jeffrey Eugenides – After reading Middlesex for the second time, I have twice as many questions. I hope he has answers.

6. William Shakespeare – Wow, I don’t know where I’d begin with my questions for him.  

7. Sarah Addison Allen – I’ve read three of her books already and I like the enchanted world she has conjured.

8. Jane Addams – Another one who inspires me, Addams wrote pamphlets to support Hull House.

9. Mark Twain – Do I need to say anything else?

10. Isabel Allende – I like her books and I’d like to meet her.

Top Ten Rebels In Literature (characters or authors) | The Broke and the Bookish

Hope everyone had a great holiday! I came home last night, after a relaxing weekend on the beach, to start working on Top Ten Tuesday for today and my computer was acting all wonky..thus I could not get on it to get this ready for today.

So there will be no list from us today but I’m dropping by on my lunch break to put up the Mr. Linky real quick so you all can enjoy each other’s lists!

To see upcoming Top Ten Tuesday’s, please click HERE!

July 5: Top Ten Rebels In Literature (characters or authors) — Those people who stood up for what they believed in despite the cost of doing so.


  1. Thomas Jefferson, writer of the “Declaration of Independence”
  2. Nikos Kazantzakis, writer of The Last Temptation of Christ
  3. Marjane Satrapi, writer of Persepolis
  4. Betty Friedan, writer of The Feminine Mystique
  5. Rachel Carson, writer of Silent Spring


  1. The Mirabal sisters of Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies – These real-life heroines stood up for the Dominican Republic and its villainous dictator – Trujillo.
  2. Howard Roark of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead – Perhaps the most uncompromising rebel, Roark would do things his way only.
  3. Elizabeth McKenna of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – Just read the book, you’ll understand what I’m saying.
  4. Atticus Finch of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird – See previous response.
  5. Cinna of Sue Collins’ The Hunger Games – While Katniss is obvious, Cinna was the impetus. Many others have blogged this as well.