Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review: American Creation by Joseph Ellis

I have determined to read more books of history this year. My favorite historical time period to study is colonial America, specifically the years from its colonization through the formative years of the Founding Fathers. Therefore, I selected Joseph Ellis’ book American Creation from the shelf at Borders to purchase and read.

Ellis wrote a magnificent book recounting several key events and players in the formation of the revolution, constitution, and executive powers. He spoke of how many a historian has written the story of the foundation of America. However, he claimed, most take a side either spinning a tale of Founders who were exempt from any failures of character or taking the side of characterizing the Founders as deplorable due to their handling of the Native American’s, slavery, and the rights of women.

Ellis seeks to present another view of the Founders that is neither naively esteemed nor unfairly deplored. He presents both the successes and the failures of the Founding Fathers and advocates that this is not only to be fair, but in reality most that have great successes also have great failures and we can learn from both. I found the book a fascinating read and thoroughly enjoyed his eloquence of style in his retelling of the events and notable people of the Founding era.

I will soon read Heroes by British historian Paul Johnson. Also I will read, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, a history of Protestantism by Alister McGrath. I also may read Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis as well. But first I am going to read a book by Francis Schaeffer and then maybe one by A.W. Tozer.


CyberKitten said...

I too have vowed to read more History books. I'm presently about half way through a book on 1968. It's very interesting. I'm learning a lot about the times I actually lived through. Obviously I wasn't paying that much attention at the time [grin].

My main focus of interest are periods of transition - eg: The Industrial Revolution, The Enlightenment and The Renaissance.

Studying History is a great way to give things the context they need to be fully understood.

Karla said...

I would like to read more on the Enlightenment and Renaissance too. I've always been fond of history. Took lots of history classes as electives and minored in it.

CyberKitten said...

I'll let you know when I do any book reviews you might find interesting. I did read a biography of Machiavelli recently which went into detail about Renaissance Italy you might find useful.

I wanted to take History at Uni but didn't get the grades to get onto the course I wanted. Ended up doing a 'Social Ethics' degree instead.