This book covers the transfer of idealogical thought, leadership and political manuvering that took place betweeen the War of 1812 and the Civil War The book focuses on the three main players throughout this time Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster The author provides background on each along with the struggles they encountered while in Congress were they worked together at times and against each other at other times The book is very well researched and reads like a novel than dry history This is one the things that I enjoy about the books by Brands that I have read.I recommend this book for anyone who wants a definitive book on the issues and politics of slavery in the United States covering the time period of the War of 1812 through the Civil War.I received a free Kindle copy of Heirs of the Founders by byH W Brands courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday Books, the publisher It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, and my fiction book review blog I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as the description interested me and I am an avid reader of american history I have read several books by the author. The genius of American democracy was its ability to muddle through crises to accept answers as tentative.the genius of Henry Clay was a knack for finding compromise.This eminently readable biographical history covers the years 1810 65, a period most Americans are entirely ignorant of By centering the history on three leading figures, Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster, Brand brings this dynamic, troubled era to life through the lives and careers of the three men, illustrating others they allied with and jousted agaisnt.Brand takes us through the evolution of the young republic through difficult waters of Federalists versus Republicans, the establishment of a national bank, and war with Britain and the burning of Washington , the first treason trial Aaron Burr, who had killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel , the highly contested election of Andrew Jackson many were afraid of a military man as President , and looming above it all, the question of slavery as the nation began its westward expansion, accelerated by the Gold Rush.He makes clear how steam power further divided the north from the south, the latter being uninterested in labor saving machinery as slave labor was a fixed cost rather than a variable one The visual divider for travelers was the Ohio River, the north side busy, the south with few towns and miles of wilderness broken by enormous estates.Calhoun was bound to slavery and the south Clay, in compromising, lost any chance of presidency, though he was influential his entire long career Webster was famed for his oratorical powers without being very adept at tactical thinking.It s fascinating to read excerpts from Webster s speeches, elegant and intelligent, given during a time when Congress debated ideas, referring to close readings of the Constitution The personal costs of jockeying for power in the evolving state get plenty of attention, making this a human story as well as a political history Not overlooked are the wives of these men, whose social influence was vital to the Washington scene, directly impacting politics There is also an intriguing section illustrating Washington and Congress from the critical eyes of Harriet Martineau.Brand brings us up to the final break, as the horrors of slavery contrasted with the ideas of those who defended it are brought to the forefront Altogether a colorful, well researched and grounded look at American history during the first half of the nineteenth century.Copy provided by NetGalley From New York Times Bestselling Historian H W Brands Comes The Riveting Story Of How, In Nineteenth Century America, A New Set Of Political Giants Battled To Complete The Unfinished Work Of The Founding Fathers And Decide The Future Of Our DemocracyIn The Early S, Three Young Men Strode Onto The National Stage, Elected To Congress At A Moment When The Founding Fathers Were Beginning To Retire To Their Farms Daniel Webster Of Massachusetts, A Champion Orator Known For His Eloquence, Spoke For The North And Its Business Class Henry Clay Of Kentucky, As Dashing As He Was Ambitious, Embodied The Hopes Of The Rising West South Carolina S John Calhoun, With Piercing Eyes And An Even Piercing Intellect, Defended The South And Slavery Together These Heirs Of Washington, Jefferson And Adams Took The Country To War, Battled One Another For The Presidency And Set Themselves The Task Of Finishing The Work The Founders Had Left Undone Their Rise Was Marked By Dramatic Duels, Fierce Debates, Scandal And Political Betrayal Yet Each In His Own Way Sought To Remedy The Two Glaring Flaws In The Constitution Its Refusal To Specify Where Authority Ultimately Rested, With The States Or The Nation, And Its Unwillingness To Address The Essential Incompatibility Of Republicanism And Slavery They Wrestled With These Issues For Four Decades, Arguing Bitterly And Hammering Out Political Compromises That Held The Union Together, But Only Just Then, In , When California Moved To Join The Union As A Free State, The Immortal Trio Had One Last Chance To Save The Country From The Real Risk Of Civil War But, By That Point, They Had Never Been Further Apart Thrillingly And Authoritatively, H W Brands Narrates An Epic American Rivalry And The Little Known Drama Of The Dangerous Early Years Of Our Democracy It has been well noted that we Americans know little of our history As Civics, Government, United States History and Political Science are delivering courses of study today, we can assume that the knowledge vacuum in these areas will only grow.Heirs of the Founders by H.W Brands is an attempt to fill in a substantial void in our understanding of how we advanced from our revolutionary beginning to the dangerous precipice edge of discussion in the Civil War Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C Calhoun were prominent politicians and orators, one Northerner, two Southerners, who vied to guide America on the path each deemed vital to the new countries survival By writing of their interactions, strengths, and weaknesses, we learn of what attempts were made to insure national survival In the end there were no compromises able to permanently diffuse the oncoming split in the country.The book is both biography and history survey Events from 1810 to 1865 are noted and the reactions of Clay, Webster, and Calhoun to these events are explained I do believe that a better appreciation of this interaction would be achieved if the reader has some knowledge of US History of the period H.W Brands has done his job He has written a well researched book about a critical time period in US History and the men who lived it.I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley Netgalley HeirsOfTheFounders Really comprehensive and well written The time period between 1812 and the Civil War are one of the forgotten ages of American history Definitely a different take on these characters than studying them in school Clay comes off the the quintessential politician always trying to maneuver for advantage Calhoun the original sessionist and by extension although not covered in the book a racist Webster, from my town, an amazing orator but also an opportunist With all of their great compromises cutting the ties of slavery much earlier may or may not have saved everybody a lot of pain We ll never know but the bitterness of fighting over it for 40 plus years of compromises didn t help. I have read and enjoyed a number of historian H W Brands books This book is about the Great Triumvirate as they were known The great orators from Massachusetts, Daniel Webster 1782 1852 , John Calhoun 1782 1850 of South Carolina and Henry Clay 1777 1852 of Kentucky These three great men were principal legislators in the post Jacksonian debate over slavery and States Rights They were the key players of the Missouri Compromise of 1850 None of the men lived to see the Civil War.The book was well written and meticulously researched The book is easy to read and understand for a lay person Each of these men played key roles and served in various positions in the government during their years of service What I enjoyed the most was listening to the debates between the three men over various issues over their years in office These three men were the greatest debaters of their era If you are interested in United States history, you must read this book.I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is fourteen hours and fifty five minutes Eric Martin does an excellent job narrating the book Martin is a well known audiobook narrator and voice over artist He has won many Earphone Awards and was a 2015 Audie Award Finalist. Well written but not groundbreaking I m fascinated by this period of American history and have read quite a few books about this segment of history and dealing with these men While Brands Heirs of the Founders is one of the most readable, it s less cohesive and detailed than it could be.Clay, Calhoun, and Webster have great stories, and Brands is a wonderful storyteller He chooses to approach their lives from a topical, usually chronological perspective This is effective at covering the political drama of the period, but less successful when it comes to getting to know the main characters At times, it feels like this book was just about this time period of American history, rather than focusing on the three stars The book is sparse with details about the upbringing, families, and personal lives of the titular characters Also, in its focus on politics, Clay, Calhoun, and Webster slip into the background at times I feel like Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams were given about as much press as the others Another flaw is that Brands tends to wander down rabbit trails a bit He spends a whole chapter dealing with the admittedly fascinating story of Solomon Northrup, just to illustrate the mood of the times.If you are looking for a very readable book about the political history of America circa 1810 1850, by all means, check this out However, if you mainly want to learn about Clay, Calhoun, and Webster, you might be better served looking elsewhere, perhaps to The Great Triumvirate drier, but biographical by Merrill Peterson I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review The opinions I express in this review are entirely my own. I normally don t read nonfiction But given that I m studying US history and that it made me particularly interested in the American Triumvirate, I had to try And it was totally worth it I m quite informed of the events in this era and I think it made this book easier to understand because of it Also, the historian quoted extensively from primary sources I enjoyed reading from the perspective of that people living in the 1810s to 1850s especially Harriet Martineau But you can guess that as a much is political and b it was written in the 19th century, it s hard to parse sometimes.Plus, did you know that Lincoln s hero was Henry Clay And that William Henry Harrison campaigned pretending to be a log cabin and cider common man I think Much of the book is political and historical but there were a few fascinating tidbits interspersed too So, highly recommended to people who has a little info about this period Even if you don t, I d still recommend it. It has been well noted that we Americans know little of our history As Civics, Government, United States History and Political Science are delivering courses of study today, we can assume that the knowledge vacuum in these areas will only grow.Heirs of the Founders by H.W Brands is an attempt to fill in a substantial void in our understanding of how we advanced from our revolutionary beginning to the dangerous precipice edge of discussion in the Civil War Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C Calhoun were prominent politicians and orators, one Northerner, two Southerners, who vied to guide America on the path each deemed vital to the new countries survival By writing of their interactions, strengths, and weaknesses, we learn of what attempts were made to insure national survival In the end there were no compromises able to permanently diffuse the oncoming split in the country.The book is both biography and history survey Events from 1810 to 1865 are noted and the reactions of Clay, Webster, and Calhoun to these events are explained I do believe that a better appreciation of this interaction would be achieved if the reader has some knowledge of US History of the period H.W Brands has done his job He has written a well researched book about a critical time period in US History and the men who lived it.I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley Netgalley HeirsOfTheFounders I just finished this book and I probably should wait until tomorrow to write a review but I won t My thoughts may not be fully formed and ordered but I do not wish to wait to praise the merits of this book I am ashamed to admit that while I profess to be a history nerd and in particular a devotee of our early history I have completely neglected that area that is the subject of this book The book s scope is roughly from just before the War of 1812 until the early 1850 s and just before the Civil War It is primarily a political biography of Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, and Henry Clay during the most contentious period in American political history Could a book be timely Actually, after reading this book I am amazed that the media hasn t made mention and noted fully the parallels regarding the issues, the arguments, the geographic divisions, the leadership and the personalities involved in this history The similarities between what occurred over 150 year ago and what is happening today are astounding and our ignorance of that history has resulted in the inevitable repetition of that history.At 370 pages of text divided among numerous, and frequently very short, chapters Prof Brands has given us a book that is a relatively quick read but also very entertaining and enlightening While my reading of biographies of other figures from this period I am a bit familiar with the highlights of the careers of three subjects of the author s history However, this book really does give a full color portrayal with all the depth, shade, and shadow for each of these iconic figures Brands treatment of each of these men fully illuminates their character and motivations I was particularly impressed with the portrayal of Calhoun and ended the book with an understanding of the Southern attitude for slavery and how complicated an issue abolition was for them socially and economically I was also taken by the pain and torment Clay went through to save the Union How ironic that the state of Kentucky could give us such a guardian of the Union and our Constitution and then today give us a man that seems the antithesis of Clay in every way Sad The period covered by this history was incredibly turbulent and violent It was a time when an argument on the floor of Congress could result in offense and an affair of honor Our leading citizens attempting to kill each other over differences of opinion and politics The fate of Alexander Hamilton was not an isolated incident So the stakes in the game played by these three men were very high both for the country and for them personally Unfortunately, their efforts failed with the result being our Civil War and the deaths of a half million men To our great shame we seem not to have learned much if anything from our history but reading this book might help that While we are experiencing our period of political unrest and discord we can take heart in that things have been worse, much worse and we survived This is a book about the past that is written for our time.
Henry William Brands was born in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he went to California for college He attended Stanford University and studied history and mathematics After graduating he became a traveling salesman, with a territory that spanned the West from the Pacific to Colorado His wanderlust diminished after several trips across the Great Basin, and he turned to sales of a
- Audio CD
- Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants
- H.W. Brands
- 06 December 2019 H.W. Brands