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Extended Audio Sample Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr Audiobook, by Nancy Isenberg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (357 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nancy Isenberg Narrator: Scott Brick Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781429585804
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Generations have been told that Aaron Burr was a betrayer—of Alexander Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. But that version has been shaped by historians and writers from the eighteenth century on who were blinded by tabloid reports and propaganda created by Burr’s political enemies during his lifetime. It is time to discover the real Aaron Burr.

Nancy Isenberg’s eye-opening, painstakingly researched biography reveals a true patriot. A brave participant in the Revolutionary War and an Enlightenment figure as much as Jefferson, he was a feminist and an inspired politician, statesman, and legislator who promoted decency instead of the factionalism that threatened the solidity of the young nation. He was a brilliant orator and lawyer who served as New York’s attorney general and senator, before his election as vice president.

Burr was, in short, a loyal citizen who had the bad fortune to make a powerful enemy early in his career. Alexander Hamilton was preoccupied with Burr for more than a decade, and subverted his career at every turn through outright lies and slanderous letters. Hamilton and Burr’s other political rivals successfully denounced Burr as a man of extreme tastes, but the facts show him to be a man of moderation and open-mindedness generations ahead of time.

Isenberg shows the gritty reality of eighteenth-century America, with its cutthroat politics, partisan maneuvering, sexual indiscretions, financial fiascos, and media slander. A brilliant restoration of a figure who ran afoul of history, Fallen Founder is a stunningly modern story.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Isenberg’s meticulous biography reveals a gifted lawyer, politician and orator who championed civility in government and even feminist ideals, in a political climate that bears a marked resemblance to our own.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] sterling biography.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Full of insight and new research. It is an important and engaging account.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 2/12/2014

    " Really trying something new. It took a long while to finish this book. My dog misses her long walks. Nice historic perspective to hear. Lots of cultural and social details of the time, which helped put context to the historic facts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Damian | 2/6/2014

    " Think today's political climate is bad, holy crap read this book and see why there was a duel. There was a organized political vendetta against this man, and while he had his failing the story that is told in this book will show you politics has not changed, in fact it has tamed since the founding of our country "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary | 1/24/2014

    " a very good resource, but the author discounts all prior study of burr in the introduction, and at times she comes off as infatuated with him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Hautala | 1/13/2014

    " At times a little too much about the politics and legal stuff, and not the real life ... you know, daily life. Still, though, a fascinating and unique take on a much-misunderstood man ... Really good stuff! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris Yorgason | 12/27/2013

    " I learned a lot about Aaron Burr, which was why I bought the book. But I only give the book two stars because I felt the author tried way too hard to justify Burr's decisions. I felt like I was reading something written by his daughter or granddaughter and found it tiresome. I would have been happy just reading about Burr, the life he led, the decisions he made, etc., without the constant attacks on Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton and other Founding Fathers. Further, the constant references to progressive feminism were a bit much for me and detracted from what could have been an otherwise enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Temple | 12/21/2013

    " What a read this was! Outstanding research and content. We tend to idealize those times, and men. What an addition to the history knowledge base, as well as a vidication of Burr. The political climate is eerily familiar! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Redsteve | 12/12/2013

    " The author is a bit heavy-handed in "rehabilitating" Burr, but the book is well researched and not wrong in any major points. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marla | 11/26/2013

    " A well-researched presentation of the life of Aaron Burr. Considered revisionist history, it tells the true story of a man who hit the top at the wrong time and fell far from grace. Fast paced and immensely interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Penzkover | 11/16/2013

    " A very good book about one of the lesser known (and much misunderstood) founding fathers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrienne | 11/14/2013

    " Burr as house guest of Jeremy Bentham? He met with Walter Scott in Scotland? He proposed a bill in the NY Assembly to grant women's suffrage? Jefferson as a paranoid partisan? A portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft over the mantel? Mr. Burr, you are blowing my mind. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sylvia | 2/1/2013

    " I gave up reading this book, sorry to say. It was not very well written and I couldn't get a real sense of Aaron Burr or the times he was living in. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margret | 1/25/2013

    " The Founding Fathers were quite the bunch of men. Not always were they the upstanding, honest men we want them to be. But it is good to know the true story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan | 12/28/2012

    " Very intresting study of America's start. This is more history then mythology, which is refreshing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve Knier | 12/7/2012

    " Wow. Highly apologetic and fawning biography of Aaron Burr. Presented as flawless and simply misunderstood. He might be misunderstood, but I found myself shouting at this book over some of the revisionist history. Bad history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 7/23/2012

    " I've always loved the rogue mystique around Aaron Burr. The facts, as depicted in this biography, make him even more interesting. There were far greater villains during his time--they just had sycophants writing their flattering bios as they lived. Sound familiar? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rory | 4/17/2011

    " I love rooting for the underdog. Honestly, there are two sides to every story. Read this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 12/25/2010

    " This was a good book, and I learned a lot from it, but I still think Burr was a scoundrel and a rascal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary | 10/23/2010

    " a very good resource, but the author discounts all prior study of burr in the introduction, and at times she comes off as infatuated with him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynnie | 8/3/2010

    " Difficult at first to get into but described characters of famous founders and how they weren't as pure as our textbooks would like us to think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Redsteve | 7/6/2009

    " The author is a bit heavy-handed in "rehabilitating" Burr, but the book is well researched and not wrong in any major points. "

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About the Author

Nancy Isenberg is the Mary Frances Barnard Chair in nineteenth-century American history at the University of Tulsa. She is the author of Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America, which was chosen as the best book in the field for 1999 by the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic.

About the Narrator

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than eight hundred audiobooks and won over fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards and several of the prestigious Audie Awards. He was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and the Voice of Choice for 2016 by Booklist magazine.