Founding Brothers

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Cover art for the hardback edition
Author Joseph Ellis
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-Fiction
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 304 (248 without source notes)
ISBN 0-375-40544-5

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Joseph Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History. It explores selected interactions among a group of individuals both gifted and flawed; interactions that profoundly influenced the early development of the United States.


Ellis constructed his book by assessing certain events during the decade following the 1787 Constitutional Convention,

"He chooses to do this not in any systematic or comprehensive manner, but by focusing on a half-dozen political personages (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr) and a handful of revealing episodes that would test their convictions and friendships."[1]

He notes that Ellis borrowed his technique from Lytton Strachey's classic study, Eminent Victorians, about notable English figures.



Joyce Appleby of the Washington Post Book World commented that, "In lesser hands the fractious disputes and hysterical rhetoric of these contentious nation-builders might come across as hyperbolic pettiness. Ellis knows better, and he unpacks the real issues for his readers, revealing the driving assumptions and riveting fears that animated Americans' first encounter with the organized ideologies and interests we call parties." [3]


In 2002, The History Channel produced a three-and-a-half hour documentary covering the various topics of the book.[4]


  1. Michiko Kakutani, "In the Course of Human Events, Lady Luck Had a Role", New York Times, 14 November 2000, accessed 16 February 2012
  2. "2001 Pulitzer Prize Winners". 2001. Retrieved 2006-08-04.
  3. Appleby, Joyce. "Founding Brothers (Washington Post book review)". Retrieved 2006-08-04.

External links

Preceded by
Freedom From Fear
Pulitzer Prize for History
Succeeded by
The Metaphysical Club
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