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Joseph J. Ellis

Författare till Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

19+ verk 18,374 medlemmar 273 recensioner 47 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Joseph J. Ellis was born in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 1943. He received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1965 and a M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University. He was an instructor in the department of American studies at Yale University from 1968 to 1969 and an assistant visa mer professor in the department of history and social studies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1969 to 1972. He began his career at Mount Holyoke College as assistant professor in the department of history in 1972 and was made professor in 1979. Ellis was dean of the faculty at Mount Holyoke from 1980 to 1990. He retired from his position as the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of numerous books including After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture, His Excellency: George Washington, American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, First Family: Abigail and John Adams, Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, and The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789. He has received the National Book Award in Nonfiction for American Sphinx in 1997 and the Pulitzer Prize for History for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation in 2001. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre

Verk av Joseph J. Ellis

Associerade verk

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams (2007) — Förord — 434 exemplar
Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty (2000) — Bidragsgivare — 83 exemplar
Founding Brothers [2002 TV feature] (2002) — Original book — 17 exemplar
The Story of America: Beginnings to 1914 (2006) — Bidragsgivare, vissa utgåvor6 exemplar


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This is a clear, crisp, insightful review of specific segment of American history that a lot of Americans know in part already, and plenty that the average American does not know. [Note to Trump supporters: There is absolutely no mention of the Continental Army seizing the airports, so you may not trust anything written in this book.] As I read the book, I thought this would have been the history professor I would like to have had in college. The author takes more than a few fairly complicated historical events and makes sense of their juxtapositions and transitions. Very well known Americans like Washington and Adams are highlighted, but also much lesser known key figures like Robert Morris. If you didn't know already that the Declaration of Independence ("1776!") and the U.S. Constitution ("We the People") were not same thing, then you might be stunned to know that there was an Articles of Confederation in between those two documents and that the original U.S. Constitution -- pay close attention "originalists" -- did not have a Bill of Rights. All in all, this was a most pleasant history read, even if does assume at times that the reader already knows a minimum level of real American history as opposed to myth.… (mer)
larryerick | 5 andra recensioner | Dec 8, 2023 |
It was clear to me that in The Cause Joseph Ellis, a Pulitzer-winning historian, who sets a high standard for himself, and has covered the American Revolution comprehensively, will go over much of the same ground in this entry. I didn’t expect to learn as much new material as I did, however.

We know George Washington struggled throughout the war to equip, pay, and feed the Continental Army, and really never succeeded in convincing Congress to spend the funds necessary. We know he waged a desperate war, a war in which he could never engage the British toe-to-toe; he led his army through force of charisma and loyalty, and benefited from an inordinate amount of pure good fortune. In this volume, though, we clearly see that Washington’s staff was far from unified in its admiration for their leader; we encounter Washington’s tardy realization that New York was no longer the key battleground at the end of the war; and that the dilatory system of information from and to England played a pivotal role in the outcome.

Some historical facts that I had not known before picking up this volume: I was not aware that George III had literally bought and paid for a majority in Parliament who owed their seats, their very careers, to His Majesty. I learned of the infighting at the top levels of the military on both sides (Horatio Gates and Arthur Lee both had it in for Washington; Sir Henry Clinton was despised, and his orders as commander in chief widely ignored, on the British side).

I finally comprehended the animus in the erstwhile colonies against forming a federal government—they had just succeeded in throwing off a remote, greedy, and tyrannical government. The last thing they wanted was to set up a new one to replace it. And finally, Ellis avers that the war the British wanted to fight was doomed to failure from the start. The only historical fact you need in support of that assertion is the savagery with which the militias in the Southern states treated the British regulars.

Other tidbits worthy of note: the Oneida tribe, alone among the Six Iroquois Nations, supported the Colonists’ cause; and the bulk strength of the French fleet, instrumental in the British Army’s final entrapment, was only off the coast of Virginia because of the approaching hurricane season in the Caribbean.

Needless to say my understanding of the Revolution and the politics surrounding it is more complete and nuanced than before reading The Cause. Yours will be too; if the American Revolution interests you, and you haven’t picked up this book, I urge you to do so right away.
… (mer)
LukeS | 5 andra recensioner | Sep 19, 2023 |
I enjoyed that this book highlights main political events and turning points of thought rather than an exhaustive biography from birth to death. Jefferson was quite contradictory as the title implies, and honestly have politicians ever been different? He was so principled, except when he wasn't, there are always notable exceptions to his ideals.
This book is quite old at this point, so some of the commentary comparing him to more recent presidents ends with Reagan and Clinton. I would love to read an updated book with our more recent leaders added into the mix.
I also found the author's stance on Sally to be surprising, I don't know if we have found new evidence since this was written or if we just have come to accept the story differently.
… (mer)
KallieGrace | 32 andra recensioner | Aug 16, 2023 |
Ellis' thesis in this book is that 1776 is the key year in the story of the American Revolution, but that historians have tended to tell the story in separate accounts, focusing on either the political story in Philadelphia with the Continental Congress, or the military events in New York. But Ellis argues that they were two sides of a single story that cannot truly be understood unless they are told together. These events were happening at the same time, and what happened in one place influenced outcomes in the other. He proceeds to give us the story, with details of what was happening on both fronts. He provides descriptive portraits of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, as well as some of the leading figures on the English side. His descriptions of the political and military situations are clear and revealing.

The events surrounding the American Revolution are familiar, and we think we know what happened, but he provides details that I did not know. For one thing, we know all the stories about the deprivations that the Continental Army faced throughout the war. One of the problems being that enlistments were normally for just a year, so recruits were leaving at the time they had finally been trained, and they had to start over with new recruits. They were also usually woefully short of supplies. But Ellis points out that this was inevitable, because Americans at that time feared a standing army, and saw it as an embodiment of centralized military power, which was the very thing they were fighting against. Individual states were more interested in supplying their local militias than the Continental Army. And the Army was intended to be transitory, expanding as needed to fight battles, supplemented by the militias. This is a point I had never thought of before, and don't remember it being pointed out by any other historian. In describing the military campaign in New York, he makes it clear that the English forces had several opportunities to crush the Continental Army, but allowed it to escape to fight another day. Another surprise to me was that both General William Howe and his brother Admiral Richard Howe, leaders of the English army and navy, still actually hoped to broker a diplomatic solution and end the fighting. They hoped the superior show of force would cause the Americans to rethink their position. However, by the time they arrived, it was too late, and the Continental Congress could not be turned.

I found the book to be extremely well-written, clear and easy to read, with wit with an occasional touch of irony.
… (mer)
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atozgrl | 17 andra recensioner | Jul 28, 2023 |



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