According to the author this book was born out of a conversation with John F. Kennedy. In that conversation the question was raised whatever happened to the extraordinary intellectual prowess, and idealism of Founding Fathers. Why don't we see more of that in American politics today? According to the author, this book is the beginning of an answer to that question.
The book does not aim to be merely an objective recitation of the facts. Rather, it is the author's analysis of that remarkable period. It is very fact heavy, and relies extensively on significant quotes from letters, early drafts of documents, and other revealing contemporary papers. Ultimately it shows that although our founders participated in extraordinary intellectual debates, their world was a rife with mundane tasks and self-serving political ambition as ours is today. There were some who shown as true stewards of the public good, and others who were in it for themselves.
I suppose the great lesson is that, despite the early politics, we ended up with a system of government to be proud of. The public good won, but it was not without a lot of work. This is Gore Vidal's analysis of that work and that time.
Vidal is an extraordinarily well educated scholar and historian. He also has his own opinions which he does not hide. His tone is classic and scholarly - this is not light reading. However, if you're willing to devote some focus, this is a well documented perspective on a remarkable time in world history.
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