What did the founding fathers really mean when they crafted the U.S. Constitution back in 1787? And more importantly, how does the language of this document inform decisions today? "Originalists", like the late Antonin Scalia, have felt like The Constitution is a rigid gospel, not to be reinterpreted (and thereby changed) to fit modern circumstance.
Ellis takes four seminal constitutional issues, injects added insights from the founders to help understand positions, and then transports these more inclusive meanings into current context: Jefferson on slavery and racism; Adams on economic inequality; Washington on foreign affairs and American imperialism; Madison on the doctrine of original intent regarding law. In short, what Ellis so artfully does is go back to original sources to explain a "why" for each stance and the slippery slope of compromise resulting in The Constitution's final language. As Ellis articulates, while "the founders are busy being dead, they still speak to us in the vast archive of letters and documents they left behind." But who of our leaders today really recognize these materials... materials that silently bring context to The Constitution. This volume is a wonderfully "digestible" discussion to help make what's old new. In today's political world, one missing ingredient to most issues is "how did we really get that way" -- and what did the founding fathers really mean, when they whispered to each other as they pursued the weighty task of re-framing what it meant to be America.
— Bob Wells
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously."--The New York Times Book Review
The thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower.
In the concluding volume of his acclaimed American Revolution series, Nathaniel Philbrick tells the thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War.In the fall of 1780, after five frustrating years of war, George Washington had come to realize that the only way to defeat the British Empire was with the help of the French navy. But coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of warships based thousands of miles away was next to impossible. And then, on September 5, 1781, the impossible happened. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake—fought without a single American ship—made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability. A riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown University’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, Rhode Island. After working as an editor at Sailing World magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind, and Yaahting: A Parody. In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the Warner Bros. motion picture Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film Into the Deep by Ric Burns. Philbrick’s writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today show, The Morning Show, Dateline, PBS’s American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife live on Nantucket.