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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Would the Founders Do?: Our Questions, Their Answers by Richard Brookhiser

A fun read. Not real deep, but fun. Good vacation read for history buffs.

Richard Brookhiser got the idea for What Would the Founders Do?: Our Questions, Their Answers from the questions from his audiences when he would give a public lecture on the founders. "Richard, what would the founding fathers have said about...(illegal immigration, marijuana, the war in Iraq, etc.)? So, he collected a number of those questions, did a little research and wrote this fun little book.

Richard Brookhiser is the writer of the best overall biography of George Washington that I have read, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. This one is not the same quality, although I am giving them both the same score: 4 stars.

Gouverneur Morris
Why? A book of this sort is just different creature than a biography. By its very nature it is a series of starts and stops (the question and answer format). This inhibits the flow of the book in many ways, but does make it good for the so-called bathroom reader. Brookhiser's sense of humor shines through, as does his genuine respect and affection for these men (the exceptionally successful ladies man Gouverneur Morris, in particular).

Just for fun, at the end he makes up several descriptions of the sorts of blogs the founders might have written, including 3 for that unstoppable writer Benjamin Franklin. Washington bows out but promises to read them all in a snail mail letter (if you know about him you are not surprised). My favorites, though, are Sam Adams with his blog "BeerandLiberty.com" (conspiracy theories and drinking tips) and John Adams with "TheLifeCareerOpinionsandWritingsofJohnAdamsExaminedandDefendedwithCommentsonhisContemporaries.com" which features long posts, flame wars in the comments and the warning that John makes frequent appearances as a troll on other blogs. Sounds about right to me.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: What Would the Founders Do?

Reviewed on June 19, 2008.

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