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Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American…
by John Ferling
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0195150848, Paperback)Setting the World Ablaze is the story of the three men who, perhaps more than any others, helped bring the United States into being: George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Weaving their three life stories into one narrative, John E. Ferling delivers a genuine and intimate illustration of them and, in doing so, gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation.
The three sections of Ferling's study chronologically examine major epochs in the lives of the three men: youth and early adulthood, the years surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and finally, defeat of the British in the Revolutionary War. Through the medium of comparative biography, Setting the World Ablaze attempts to link personal and impersonal elements in the contours of the American Revolution and the war that accompanied it. A professor of History at the State University of West Georgia and a leading scholar of the Revolutionary era, Ferling draws on a firm command of primary sources and his own expertise of the period to examine fundamental issues critical to our understanding of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, as well as of the historical period. He abandons the standard iconography and focuses instead on what motivated and inspired these three men as human beings. For example, what forces shaped each of the three during his youth, what was each like as a mature young man before public affairs and fame changed everything, and what determined their behavior as activists? John Adams emerges from the narrative as the most underappreciated hero of the Revolution, while Jefferson is revealed as the most eloquent but also most overrated of the Founders. Personal anecdotes from all periods of their lives add to Ferling's already rich portrait and give the reader a unique sense of how Washington, Adams, and Jefferson negotiated the many challenges they encountered throughout their lives. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:50 -0400)
Setting the World Ablaze is the story of the American Revolution and of the three Founders who played crucial roles in winning the War of Independence and creating a new nation: George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Braiding three strands into one rich narrative, John Ferlingbrings these American icons down from their pedestals to show them as men of flesh and blood, and in doing so gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation. A leading historian of the Revolutionary era, Ferling draws upon an unsurpassed command of the primary sources and a talent for swiftly moving narrative to give us intimate views of each of these men. He shows us both the overarching historical picture of the era and a gripping sense of howthese men encountered the challenges that faced them. We see Washington, containing a profound anger at British injustice within an austere demeanor; Adams, far from home, struggling with severe illness and French duplicity in his crucial negotiations in Paris; and Jefferson, distracted andindecisive, confronting uncertainties about his future in politics. John Adams, in particular, emerges from the narrative as the most under-appreciated hero of the Revolution, while Jefferson is revealed as the most overrated, yet most eloquent, of the Founders. Setting the World Ablaze shows indramatic detail how these conservative men--successful members of the colonial elite--were transformed into radical revolutionaries.
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