Franklin, John Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, John Marshall—all are familiar yet curiously distant American heroes, blurred by the similarities of their background and culture. In this engrossing book Albert Furtwangler looks at these men in turn, examining either a document or a telling incident in their lives in order to explore what was distinctive and unique about them as individuals.
"Leaves the reader much better sensitized to the mind, prose, and political effect of Franklin and John Adams and their most eminent contemporaries up through John Marshall."—American Literature
"Furtwangler undertakes the novel task of asking how a handful of famous framers defined their public images through language. . . . A fresh, stimulating monograph."—Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer
"An engaging and readable book with an original slant. . . . Furtwangler's rhetorical analysis recaptures the vitality of [the Founders] lives and writings."—Tom Scanlan, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
"The achievement of the book lies in Furtwangler's respect for the Founders' self-design: his sympathy for the pain of political crisis and his judgement that personae can originate in the discovery of personal conviction."—Mitchell Breitwieser, Eighteenth-Century Studies