Prepublication Review: Founding Feuds The Rivalries, Clashes, and Conflicts That Forged a Nation by Paul Aron

  • Early American History
  • Political History
  • American Founding Fathers
  • Political Rivalries

About Founding Feuds: The Rivalries, Clashes, and Conflicts That Forged a Nation

The Founding Fathers have been hailed for centuries as shining examples of men who put aside their own agendas to found a nation. But behind the scenes, there were more petty fights and fraught relationships than signatures on the Declaration of Independence.

From the violent brawl between Roger Griswold and Matthew Lyon in the halls of Congress, to George Washington’s battle against his slave Harry Washington, these less-discussed clashes bring to light the unpredictable and volatile nature of a constantly changing nation. Additionally, this gripping narrative delves deeper into the famous feuds, such as the fatal duel of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and the many rivalries of Thomas Jefferson (which were as often personal as political.)

America’s great forbearers fought with each other as bitterly as our politicians do today. Founding Feuds reveals the true natures of the Founding Fathers and how their infighting shaped our nation as much as their cooperation, in fact sometimes even for the better.

Review of Founding Feuds: The Rivalries, Clashes, and Conflicts That Forged a Nation

Founding Feuds gives a different angle to the forging of the United States that is not only interesting, but makes it possible for the average reader to apply themselves to the positions of men we previously believed to be almost perfect in their ability to traverse the roads of nation-building with almost god-like peace. In this book we actually see them as human beings with immense differing of opinions, much like we see today in politics and party camps.

There are a few kinks in this book, some of which are completely unavoidable. While the book is well-researched, it does give many examples of feuds between the characters by using direct quotes, which does make the reading a bit choppy. But when writing a book of this nature, it’s almost always better to apply direct quotes to your examples then to attempt to paraphrase yourself and risk damaging the integrity of the original opinion.

Most of the rivalries written about in this book encompass petty disagreements, but much like today, these petty disagreements develop into full-fledged dividing conflicts between political powers. So it’s a great read if you’re wanting to learn more about how massive world problems can develop from small disagreements. It does give enough context into certain concepts surrounding particular characters that it makes for a good beginner’s book to rivalries forged during the inception of the nation, possibly giving way to readers who would branch out into more in-depth books that cover broad scope analyses of one or more characters in a single book, like those wanting to understand how Alexander Hamilton could just let himself be killed.

The style of the book is very matter-of-fact Kama so if you’re looking for more artistic writing with influences of authoritative interpretation, this may not be the right book for you. But if you are a reader of history that enjoys being in the thick of the exact feelings and experiences people may have had in past days, this is the book for you. So, if you’re someone who often reads history books or historical fiction books and wonder what the character may have possibly been feeling or saying during that time, this is the type of book that opens up that avenue for you.

C.J. Leger’s Final Thoughts

Founding Feuds is a very well-researched book. It lacks a bit of artistic style, but makes up for it in true matter-of-fact writing that allows the reader to explore the exact feelings of the characters during the days of the inception and creation of the United States of America, leaving behind the artistic need to beef up text with authoritative interpretation since what we really want to know is how and why our founding fathers fought with each other.

We give it 4 out of 5 stars.

About Author Paul Aron

Paul Aron is Director of Publications for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He was previously a reporter for The Virginia Gazette, Executive Editor at Simon and Schuster, and an editor at Doubleday.

About Sourcebooks

Sourcebooks is creating the next evolution of a book publishing company. We are committed to innovative publishing, to exploring every platform and creating breakthrough models. We truly believe that books have the power to touch people and change lives. Sourcebooks is home to 120 enthusiastic book-loving employees who are dedicated to finding new ways to connect with authors, readers, and ideas. We publish over 300 new titles each year, and are honored to have 44 New York Times bestsellers.

Originally published at on May 17, 2016.

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