• Founding Brothers

  • The Revolutionary Generation
  • By: Joseph J. Ellis
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (859 ratings)
LIMITED-TIME OFFER

3 months free
Offer ends February 21st, 2024 at 11:59PM ET.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 3 months. Cancel anytime.
Founding Brothers  By  cover art

Founding Brothers

By: Joseph J. Ellis
Narrated by: Bob Walter
Try for $0.00

$14.95/mo. after 3 months. Cancel anytime. Offer ends February 21st, 2024 at 11.59PM ET.

Buy for $20.25

Buy for $20.25

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic - John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

During the 1790s, which Ellis calls the most decisive decade in our nation's history, the greatest statesmen of their generation - and perhaps any - came together to define the new republic and direct its course for the coming centuries. Ellis focuses on six discrete moments that exemplify the most crucial issues facing the fragile new nation: Burr and Hamilton's deadly duel and what may have really happened; Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison's secret dinner, during which the seat of the permanent capital was determined in exchange for passage of Hamilton's financial plan; Franklin's petition to end the "peculiar institution" of slavery - his last public act - and Madison's efforts to quash it; Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address, announcing his retirement from public office and offering his country some final advice; Adams' difficult term as Washington's successor and his alleged scheme to pass the presidency on to his son; and finally Adams and Jefferson's renewed correspondence at the ends of their lives, in which they compared their different views of the Revolution and its legacy.

In a lively and engaging narrative, Ellis recounts the sometimes collaborative, sometimes archly antagonistic interactions between these men and shows us the private characters behind the public personas: Adams, the ever-combative iconoclast whose closest political collaborator was his wife, Abigail; Burr - crafty, smooth, and one of the most despised public figures of his time; Hamilton, whose audacious manner and deep economic savvy masked his humble origins; Jefferson, renowned for his eloquence but so reclusive and taciturn that he rarely spoke more than a few sentences in public; Madison - small, sickly, and paralyzingly shy yet one of the most effective debaters of his generation; and the stiffly formal Washington, the ultimate realist, larger than life, and America's only truly indispensable figure.

Ellis argues that the checks and balances that permitted the infant American republic to endure were not primarily legal, constitutional, or institutional but intensely personal, rooted in the dynamic interaction of leaders with quite different visions and values. Revisiting the old-fashioned idea that character matters, Founding Brothers informs our understanding of American politics - then and now - and gives us a new perspective on the unpredictable forces that shape history.

©2003 Joseph J. Ellis (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

Founding Brothers is a wonderful book, one of the best ... on the Founders ever written.... Ellis has established himself as the Founders’ historian for our time.” —Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“Vivid and unforgettable ... [an] enduring achievement.” —The Boston Globe

“A splendid book—humane, learned, written with flair and radiant with a calm intelligence and wit.” —The New York Times Book Review

What listeners say about Founding Brothers

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    573
  • 4 Stars
    202
  • 3 Stars
    55
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    11
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    522
  • 4 Stars
    157
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    12
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    532
  • 4 Stars
    155
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    12

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great!

Where does Founding Brothers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 20.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I admire John Adams the most. His work ethic and political views resonate with me. He was earnest and outspoken and had a great vision for the future of the new Republic. With John Adams, there was no subterfuge, no hidden agenda.

Which character – as performed by Bob Walter – was your favorite?

Not really pertinent.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

While all the historical characters in this book have been portrayed on the screen in various films, this book as written isn't film material.

Any additional comments?

This was a great review of a short segment of our history and the real people who made that history happen. I learned many details that I had not previously known. I very much enjoyed listening to Founding Brothers. The narration was excellent, by the way.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Narrative of the Founding Fathers

Would you listen to Founding Brothers again? Why?

Yes, the stories and events Joseph Ellis choose were not only great for laying out the issues of the day but captivatingly shows the personalities of the individuals showcased. I'll definitely go back to listen to specific chapters in the near future. The only negative I have is it was a little more Jefferson centric than I would have liked but it’s not surprising given the time period this book focuses on.

Who was your favorite character and why?

G Wash, duh! While John Adams wasn't my favorite, I liked how this book talks about Adams. It does a good job pinpointing Adams’ legacy and doesn’t focus too much on his maligned presidency. His influence seems to be vastly underrated in present times.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I have listened to for quite awhile!

This book was so enthralling that I felt as if I was actually living at the time and even through the lives of the revolutionary heroes as well as those that could be considered "villains" of the time. Masterly written, beautifully performed. It's words continue to linger in my mind and I am savoring them all.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

Voice was mechanical and the book was primarily concerned with the issue of slavery which was a narrower emphasis than i expected.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This narrator is terrible

The content of the book is excellent. This is an incredible storyline. Unfortunately, the narration is terrible. The narrator is monotone and and slow. He should have had more coffee before he went to work. He lacks energy and passion.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too much babbler

The author uses adjectives on top of adjectives. Some may find this a tapestry of history. But it gives me a head ache going in circles and never really make inferences the point.

I regret the purchase of this book!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best version of Adams and Jefferson Critique

Exhaustively researched, and professionally performed the masterful evaluation of characters, events and legacies each man left.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Author obsessed with slavery

The author's obsession with slavery has him spend almost half the book on the topic even though it was not relevant to the American revolution. it's almost like he desperately wanted to write a book on slavery but was forced by his editors to do it on the founding fathers so he rebelled and did it anyway. I do not recommend this book if you are looking to learn about the founders.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Really insightful!

Good read. Goes by quick as you get see how all the founding fathers worked together during that time frame.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great History Tainted by the Telling

The substance of this book is fantastic. Ron Walter’s narration not nearly so. His style was very difficult to listen to, with an uneven and awkward intonation and rhythm resembling recitation of an epic poem rather than prose, yet still poorly delivered as poetry. The best illustration I can make is it felt like he was trying to sound Shakespearean, almost forcing an iambic pentameter which just wasn’t there. Quite the shame. I will give second thought to choosing any future Audible where he is the narrator.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful