America's founding fathers : their uncommon wisdom and wit / edited by Bill Adler.

Bibliographic Details
Other Authors: Adler, Bill, 1956-
Format: Book
Published: Lanham, Md. : Taylor Trade Pub., c2003.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The selections in this ill-digested compendium are a haphazardly mixed bag. Ben Franklin is showcased with worldly aphorisms and his arguments, some tongue in cheek, for the turkey and rattlesnake as national symbols. John Adams mutters some dyspeptic aphorisms. George Washington dispenses stolid endorsements of virtue and religion, including not one but two long-winded Thanksgiving proclamations. Nearly half the book is given over to Jefferson's musings on the wisdom of the people and the evils of unfettered government, while Madison weighs in on the madness of the people and Hamilton extols the benefits of unfettered government. Enlightenment firebrand Tom Paine imprecates organized religion, and the randomly included Benjamin Rush offers a dubious prescription of bleeding and purging as a cure for yellow fever. Careful readers can discern the currents of political thought in the early Republic through this hodge-podge, but they will get little help from the slipshod editing. The contents are only sporadically organized by theme, and not at all by date. Most passages have no citations to guide readers to sources. There are few notes, so puzzling references go unexplained, and some of the selections are repeated, sometimes on the very same page. The sections on Madison and Hamilton seem to have been indiscriminately xeroxed from the Federalist Papers and include stray truisms like Hamilton's reminder, apropos of nothing, that "In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend." Readers in search of wit and wisdom will have to wade through a lot of banality and boilerplate first. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved