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Download The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, by Thomas Fleming Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00921658986175 out of 53.00921658986175 out of 53.00921658986175 out of 53.00921658986175 out of 53.00921658986175 out of 5 3.01 (217 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Fleming Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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With his usual storytelling flair and unparalleled research, Tom Fleming offers a compelling, intimate look at the founders—George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison—and the women who played essential roles in their lives.

From hot-tempered Mary Ball Washington to promiscuous Rachel Lavien Hamilton, the founding fathers’ mothers powerfully shaped their sons’ visions of domestic life. But lovers and wives played more critical roles as friends and often partners in fame. We learn of the youthful Washington’s tortured love for the coquettish Sarah Fairfax, wife of his close friend; of Franklin’s two “wives,” one in London and one in Philadelphia; of Adams’ long absences, which required a lonely, deeply unhappy Abigail to keep home and family together for years on end; of Hamilton’s adulterous betrayal of his wife and their reconciliation; and how the brilliant Madison was jilted by a flirtatious fifteen-year-old and went on to marry the effervescent Dolley, who helped make this shy man into a popular president. Jefferson’s controversial relationship to Sally Hemings is also examined, with a different vision of where his heart lay.

Fleming nimbly takes us through a great deal of early American history, as the founding fathers strove to reconcile their private and public lives, often beset by a media every bit as gossip-seeking and inflammatory as ours today. He offers a powerful look at the challenges women faced in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. While often brilliant and articulate, the wives of the founding fathers all struggled with the distractions and dangers of frequent childbearing and searing anxiety about infant mortality. All the more remarkable, then, that these women loomed so large in the lives of their husbands—and, in some cases, their country.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Thomas Fleming is one of our most interesting scholars of the Revolutionary period, and in his insightful latest work he does not disappoint. Focusing on the wives and women of the Founding Fathers, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers is thoroughly fresh, frequently fun, at times touching, and always fascinating. A significant achievement.”

    Jay Winik, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Upheaval and April 1865

  • “[A] solid, sometimes titillating account…Showing the more human and sometimes unlikeable sides of our founders, the author writes good history, debunking more scandal than he confirms.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] gossipy but thoroughly enjoyable examination of the personal––and particularly marital––relationships of our early national icons…The overall effect is to reveal them as fallible humans without detracting from their well-deserved status.”


  • “Tom Fleming is a rare combination—a fine historian and a fine writer. His assessment of George Washington’s relationships with Sally Fairfax and Martha Custis is right on target.”

    Peter R. Henriques, author of Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington

  • “With his ample gifts as a novelist and his brilliant historical reach, the esteemed Thomas Fleming never disappoints...A remarkable achievement—and hard to put down.”

    Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • “JFK had Marilyn Monroe, and Bill Clinton had Monica, but that doesn’t mean twentieth-century presidents had all the fun. ‘Knowing and understanding the women in their lives adds pathos and depth to the public dimensions of the founding fathers’ political journeys,’ Thomas Fleming writes in this well-researched peek into the boudoirs of America's political architects.”                      

    Washington Post

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Erin | 2/17/2014

    " Martha Washington was a kindly grandma. John Adams was vain and Abigail, a prude. Ben Franklin was a dirty old man and Alexander Hamilton was a horrible husband. Thomas Jefferson may not have made sweet sweet love to Sally and Dolly Madison was a diva. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Linda | 2/9/2014

    " I like to read about the personal lives of famous people. Especially those who lived a long time ago. It is interesting to see how they lived and how the women in their lives were responsible for a lot of their public opinions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dsfraelich1 | 1/25/2014

    " Very Interesting and enlightening about the private lives of our founding fathers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Grumpus | 1/20/2014

    " Great summary of six of the founding fathers for those who may not want the minutia of their entire lives but still containing bits of new information that the history buff may not have known (like me). I haven't done much reading on James Madison so the part of the book devoted to him was particularly interesting. "

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About the Author

Thomas Fleming is the author of more than fifty books of historical fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestseller The Officers’ Wives. A distinguished historian, he has served as president of the Society of American Historians and the PEN American Center, spent ten years as chairman of the New York American Revolution Round Table, and is the senior scholar at the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge. He has received honors and awards from the Colonial Dames of America, National Catholic Press Association, New Jersey Historical Commission, and American Association for State and Local History. His awards include Boston University’s Burack Award for Lifetime Achievement in American History, the Union League Club of New York’s Abraham Lincoln Award for Outstanding Contributions to American Literature, and the 2012 Gomez Mill House Pioneer Award. In his honor, the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia has named its annual book prize the Thomas Fleming Award. A frequent guest on PBS, A&E, and the History Channel, he has contributed articles to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and other magazines. He lives in New York.