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Download American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,216 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph J. Ellis Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9780739331934
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From the first shots fired at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, Joseph J. Ellis guides us through the decisive issues of the nation’s founding, and illuminates the emerging philosophies, shifting alliances, and personal and political foibles of our now iconic leaders–Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Adams. He casts an incisive eye on the founders’ achievements, arguing that the American Revolution was, paradoxically, an evolution–and that part of what made it so extraordinary was the gradual pace at which it occurred. He explains how the idea of a strong federal government was eventually embraced by the American people, and details the emergence of the two-party system, which stands as the founders’ most enduring legacy.

Ellis is equally incisive about their failures, and he makes clear how their inability to abolish slavery and to reach a just settlement with the Native Americans has played an equally important role in shaping our national character. With eloquence and insight, Ellis strips the mythic veneer of the revolutionary generation to reveal men both human and inspired, possessed of both brilliance and blindness. American Creation is an audiobook that delineates an era of flawed greatness, at a time when understanding our origins is more important than ever.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Mr. Ellis humanizes the founding generation without tearing them down--a delicate operation in a politically charged time. The New York Sun
  • He writes history as it should be: as a page-turner. Library Journal
  • This subtle, brilliant examination puts Ellis among the finest of America's narrative historians. Publishers Weekly
  • His books on early American history are national treasures. Roger Bishop, Bookpage
  • Illuminating . . . Compelling . . . It is Mr. Ellis's achievement that he once again leaves us with a keen appreciation of the good fortune America had in having the right men in the right places at the right times. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • Ellis is a storyteller, and a superb one too. He employs the same narrative technique he developed most successfully in Founding Brothers. Throughout there is the same captivating colloquial style for which he is famous, and the same clarity of exposition. Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books
  • Joseph J. Ellis' Founding Brothers won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in history. American Creation is at least its equal and perhaps its superior. Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 2/7/2014

    " Reading this work raised the question of war experience on Constitutional interpretation by Federal jurists e.g. John Marshall (was at Valley Forge). It also notes the flip-flops and duplicity of the Founders. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 2/4/2014

    " Ellis has a remarkable capacity to make history readable. Wonderful. Should be required reading for high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lara | 1/26/2014

    " I think I've read every book by Joseph Ellis - each of his biographies of the founding fathers (Washington, Adams and Jefferson) and of course "Founding Brothers" which was excellent. "American Creation" was in the same vein of "Founding Brothers" - telling anecdotes about events during the Revolutionary War period and the first 25 years of the Republic. Ellis is very readable - not at all stuffy, which can be a danger given the subject matter. I liked this book's emphasis on the Native American question and how badly it was botched, despite some enlightened thinking at the time. This book is definitely worth reading, though I would start with "Founding Brothers". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rps2 Seawright | 1/20/2014

    " Very enlightening with regard to the issue of federal power/states' rights issue. Very readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dad | 1/17/2014

    " This book addresses the concepts the founding fathers wrestled with and points out that there were successes and frank failures. Perhaps their best invention was a system of government in which the conversation must continue and if one side wins, the republic is doomed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chase | 1/16/2014

    " an easy but informative look at some of the key moments in the founding of the USA "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy Miller | 1/3/2014

    " great read. More thoughtful analysis than straight history. Interesting thesis, the founders deserve great credit for developing the foundation of a republic which had never been done on a large scale before, a foundation that has endured. However, Ellis makes compelling argument that the founders would concede that there were two failures to this success, the failure to address slavery which was completely inconsistent which the values of their republic and the failure to address treatment of Native Americans. Compelling chapters on how Washington, Knox and Jefferson realized that American treatment of Native Americans was no better than English treatment of the colonies and their attempts to redress that, which were eventually overwhelmed by illegal American migration into areas where Knox,Washington and Jefferson had promised to Native Americans "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 1/1/2014

    " Another great read by Ellis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/1/2014

    " Not bad, but kind of a letdown after Founding Brothers. Admittedly, it was a tough act to follow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Val Sanford | 1/1/2014

    " Fantastic! The American Revolution brought to us by flawed individuals. Joseph Eliss details the triumphs, tragedies, successes and failures of the founding fathers. I "read" this book as an audio book and I was enthralled with each vignette as Ellis delved into the details of the Louisiana Purchase, the writing of our Declaration of Independence and the ratification of our constitution. How close we came to not being a Republic is made clear through the letters and speeches of our founding fathers, Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. This is a terrific look at the real men behind our country's founding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 12/20/2013

    " In effect a thought-provoking series of essays linked by fluid prose and rhetorical flourishes. Not the strongest narrative, but well-nuanced. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 11/24/2013

    " Full of interesting facts, most prominently an explanation of just how the hell we beat the British. But it really lost focus a third of the way in, and with it lost effectiveness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie | 7/26/2013

    " This book is very easy to read, entertaining, and extremely thorough. Ellis delves into much more than even my college history textbooks do. He also debunks the national rumor myths that American's have today, like Washington kneeling in prayer at the Valley Forge. Thumbs up for the genius! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dallin | 6/27/2013

    " Not as enthralling as "Founding Brothers" but I must say I am an Ellis fan. He presents history to me in a way that I can put the pieces together better. Definitely has some good insights of how the past affects the present and the future. Very interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 4/19/2013

    " My mind wondered a lot. 2.5 stars from me. He is very knowledgeable and my American history background was not enough to understand everything. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlie Schroeder | 10/18/2012

    " Lucid, captivating and concise. A perfect intro to the U.S. story. Should be required reading for all Americans (and others). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 9/2/2012

    " Joseph Ellis is a great author - this is my fifth book from him and it did not disappoint me. If you love reading about American history, this book is for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Will | 8/2/2012

    " Better than His Excellency, not as good as Founding Brothers. I like the style (as in Founding Brothers) of weaving several independent themes together. I did not know that much about these events--particularly our early relations with the indians. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Kebker | 12/23/2011

    " Another book I read over the summer. A good look at the character of the founders without disparaging them or treating them like demigods. Shows that the right people in the right place at the right time can do amazing things...often unexpectedly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 7/20/2011

    " A great anti-lionization effort to tell American history as it actually happened with all the successes, failures, and imperfections of our Founding Fathers. All those who keep invoking those men's names should really read this book and learn something about the history they always claim to revere. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Allen | 6/15/2011

    " Great book, better and more linear than founding brothers. To this date, the best book I've read on American History. The story about the treaty with the Native Americans was all new to me. Washington is taking the lead as my favorite founding father. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 5/26/2011

    " The more I learn about Jefferson, the less I like him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Genie | 3/2/2011

    " Excellent, thought provoking, one of the best history writers I have ever read. I have read several of his Ellis' books, and would recommend them to anyone interested in hisory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 1/8/2011

    " Excellent read. If you like history -- particularly of the revolutionary period, I would HIGHLY recommend this book, in addition to the other books by Joseph Ellis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 12/13/2010

    " Full of interesting facts, most prominently an explanation of just how the hell we beat the British. But it really lost focus a third of the way in, and with it lost effectiveness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rps2 | 9/28/2010

    " Very enlightening with regard to the issue of federal power/states' rights issue. Very readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 8/31/2010

    " A great anti-lionization effort to tell American history as it actually happened with all the successes, failures, and imperfections of our Founding Fathers. All those who keep invoking those men's names should really read this book and learn something about the history they always claim to revere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zac | 8/30/2010

    " A brief insight into the beginnings of the United States. Shows the many sides of our founders and the different sides of issues they had to deal with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim and Popie | 8/27/2010

    " Wonderful summation of how us was formed and what was great about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan | 8/8/2010

    " Ahhhh, finally. A book that knocks the capital-f Founders off the marble pedestal, just the way they would've wanted. "

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About the Author
Author Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph J. Ellis is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. Educated at the College of William and Mary and Yale University, he served as a captain in the army and taught at West Point before coming to Mount Holyoke in 1972. He was dean of the faculty there for ten years. Among his previous books is Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams. He lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, and three sons.

About the Narrator

John H. Mayer is a writer, actor, and audiobook narrator. In 1973, he cowrote Radio Rocket Boy, an award-winning short film. He also has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including American Lion and The Wolf Tree, among many others.