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Extended Audio Sample Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, by Andrea Wulf Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (290 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andrea Wulf Narrator: Antonia Bath Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the author of the acclaimed The Brother Gardeners, a fascinating look at the founding fathers from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen, and farmers.For the founding fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions, as deeply ingrained in their characters as their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Andrea Wulf reveals for the first time this aspect of the revolutionary generation. She describes how, even as British ships gathered off Staten Island, George Washington wrote his estate manager about the garden at Mount Vernon; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; how a trip to the great botanist John Bartram’s garden helped the delegates of the Constitutional Congress break their deadlock; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of American environmentalism. These and other stories reveal a guiding but previously overlooked ideology of the American Revolution.Founding Gardeners adds depth and nuance to our understanding of the American experiment and provides us with a portrait of the founding fathers as they’ve never before been seen.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Illuminating and engrossing. . . . The reader relives the first decades of the Republic not only through her eloquent and revelatory prose but through the words of the statesmen themselves. The New York Times Book Review
  • "Anecdotes . . . shimmer through Andrea Wulf’s fine story of how gardening and farming shaped the thinking of Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. . . . Luxurious and sharp-witted. San Francisco Chronicle
  • "[A] lively and deeply researched history. . . . Wulf ingeniously connects . . . highbrow political philosophy to the founders’ personal passion for horticulture. The Washington Post Book World
  • "A timely and passionate book, with resonances beyond today’s legion of new gardeners. . . . Wulf traces the birth of the modern environmental movement back beyond Thoreau and Muir to the founding fathers’ passion for nature and plants. The Guardian
  • "Andrea Wulf shows in her eloquently written and very beguiling Founding Gardeners that the garden, the natural world and the shape of a new nation were, for the men who launched the United States, parts of a whole. . . . She is a writer of considerable grace and breadth of vision, and Founding Gardeners is an excellent portrait of the early years of the federal republic. It will delight the general reader. The Plain Dealer
  • "A highly enjoyable and thought-provoking book. Wulf combines a sure knowledge of garden history and 18th-centry politics with a keen eye for domestic detail and evocative description. By focusing the grand narrative of early America on four individuals, she writes the best kind of popular history. The Irish Times
  • "It is certain that Wulf has wonderfully illuminated an often overlooked and very important aspect of the founders’ lives, providing new reasons to be inspired by them. . . . Delightful, enlightened reading. NashvilleScene.com
  • Wonderfully engaging. . . . Breaks new ground. The Times Literary Supplement (London)
  • Fresh and bountiful. . . . Wulf’s delectable anecdotal approach . . . reveals each founder’s personality and perpective, while her dynamic analysis results in a paradigm-altering vision of how ‘the balance of nature’ underlies our founding principles. Booklist (starred review)
  • Wulf offers a delightful new perspective on the men we usually associate more with politics than with plants. Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Piedad | 2/19/2014

    " I completely enjoyed this book. It tranported me to early american history and frankly was surprised by how very important botany was to the intellect of the founding fathers. In botany they found peace, ideas, philosophy, economic reform, exploration, revolution, independance and pure joy. I had taken for granted the enormous diversity of plants available to us now at the click of a mouse or a trip to homedepot, back then that was not the case. The treasures that the colonies, later early independent country, to further exploration of this country, is clearly the abundance of plants, we have such abundance . Gardening is the most basic of how we should see life in general. Nature is a universtiy. This book will fill you with patriotic fever and an urge to work on your garden. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kitty | 2/16/2014

    " While modern Americans view Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison as statesmen, these founding fathers viewed themselves primarily as farmers. They were dedicated to serving their country politically but their hearts remained closely tied to the land. This book details that intimate connection between these four men and the bountiful land they loved. It's a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys gardening and history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelsey | 1/27/2014

    " This was a quick, interesting read. Having visited Monticello and Mount Vernon this past year, I enjoyed learning more about what I had seen. Some of this book is speculative like the bit about a garden tour helping along the Great Compromise, but still interesting and worth examination. I enjoyed learning more about the founding fathers and their connection with the land. Interesting from both a botanical and a more traditional historical perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tarah | 1/27/2014

    " There were parts that were extremely interesting, and then there were parts that dragged quite a bit. Not necessarily any new information about our founders and their sense of space/garden, but interesting when put side-by-side. Also, more attention played to Madison than in other narratives. I would have liked to see more nuanced analysis of Western expansionism in re: Jefferson, but a good read in general. "

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