Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

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Penguin, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 540 pages
69 Reviews
This definitive biography of the revolutionary era villain overturns every myth and image we have of him

The narrative of America’s founding is filled with godlike geniuses—Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson—versus the villainous Aaron Burr. Generations have been told Burr was a betrayer—of Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. All untrue. He did not turn on Hamilton; rather, the politically aggressive Hamilton was preoccupied with Burr and subverted Burr’s career at every turn for more than a decade through outright lies and slanderous letters.

In Fallen Founder, Nancy Isenberg portrays the founders as they all really were and proves that Burr was no less a patriot and no less a principled thinker than those who debased him. He was an inspired politician who promoted decency at a moment when factionalism and ugly party politics were coalescing. He was a genuine hero of the Revolution, as much an Enlightenment figure as Jefferson, and a feminist generations ahead of his time. A brilliant orator and lawyer, he was New York’s attorney general, a senator, and vice president. Denounced as a man of extreme tastes, he in fact pursued a moderate course, and his political assassination was accomplished by rivals who feared his power and who promoted the notion of his sexual perversions.

Fallen Founderis an antidote to the worshipful biographies far too prevalent in the histories of the revolutionary era. Burr’s story returns us to reality: to the cunning politicians our nation’s founders really were and to a world of political maneuvering, cutthroat politicking, and media slander that is stunningly modern.
  

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Isenberg's portrayal is both realistic and forgiving. - Goodreads
Outstanding research and content. - Goodreads
This book is a serious piece of research. - Goodreads

Review: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

User Review  - C Baker - Goodreads

This biography of Aaron Burr unsuccessfully tries to resurrect his sullied reputation. While as a biography it provides an excellent account of his life, its interpretation of his role and character ... Read full review

Review: Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

User Review  - Genine Franklin-Clark - Goodreads

After being so put off by the preface, I tried to read this nevertheless but was unsuccessful. I picked it up 4 more times; just found it boring. Sorry Book Club for this coming Friday, I just couldn't do it. Read full review

Contents

One A MAN OF PROMISING PARTS
1
Two TO CONCERT WITH MY BROTHER OFFICERS
19
Three SUCH ARE THE LETTERS I LOVE
55
Four AN UNPREJUDICED MIND
85
Five A CERTAIN LITTLE SENATOR
129
Six THE STATESMAN AND THE SOLDIER
177
Seven THE RUIN OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
223
Eight LITTLE QUID EMPEROR
271
Nine WILL O WISP TREASON
319
Ten THAT STRANGER WAS AARON BURR
367
HE USED NO UNNECESSARY WORDS
405
INDEX
523
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Nancy Isenberg, a New Jersey native, is the Mary Frances Barnard Chair in 19th- 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 of the early American Republic” for 1999 by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

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