Virtue, Valor, and Vanity Hardcover – Nov 7 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Historian and Fox News TV host Burns (Infamous Scribblers) opens his second study of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton and Henry with a study of ancient Rome and perhaps the founding fathers' greatest influence, the orator, essayist, "public official and public nuisance" Cicero, who "worked at renown" and got it. While each man had his reasons and motivations, all of the founding fathers sought fame for themselves as much as they sought "a nation that would provide the greatest good and the most opportunity for as many of its citizens as possible." Burns provides personal profiles of each in the service of this thesis: Hamilton, beginning from humble roots, had a sharp temper that led to his early demise; Adams was insecure; Franklin was the problem solver and the "first true American celebrity"; Washington was even-handed and well-respected; and Jefferson was "the most famous of the group not to know what to make of his fame." Discussion of each personality with respect to ambition, vanity, modesty, jealousy, image and myth will capture the imagination of most any history buff, but will leave the casual reader with scatter-shot impressions.
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