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Sex and the Founding Fathers

Sexuality Studies
Narrated by: Todd Curless
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: History, American
3.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Biographers, journalists, and satirists have long used the subject of sex to define the masculine character and political authority of America's Founding Fathers. Tracing these commentaries on the Revolutionary Era's major political figures in Sex and the Founding Fathers, Thomas Foster shows how continual attempts to reveal the true character of these men instead exposes much more about Americans and American culture than about the Founders themselves.

Sex and the Founding Fathers examines the remarkable and varied assessments of the intimate lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Gouverneur Morris from their own time to ours. Interpretations can change radically; consider how Jefferson has been variously idealized as a chaste widower, condemned as a child molester, and recently celebrated as a multicultural hero.

Foster considers the public and private images of these generally romanticized leaders to show how each generation uses them to reshape and reinforce American civic and national identity.

©2014 Temple University (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"In this concise, engaging book, Foster explores the intimate lives of six Founding Fathers, and, more importantly, the way their sex lives have been presented and analyzed over the years... Foster ably reveals that sex has always factored into national identity and that the Founders were flesh-and-blood men, unable to support idealistic American standards of morality." ( Publishers Weekly)

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Title should've said "why we don't know anything"

The vast majority of this book is spent explaining why don't know anything about the founding fathers. It goes into detail who burned whose letters, who liked to keep a private life and who just has no documentation about personal matters and that's why we - and this author - have nothing on the sexual and personal lives of the founding fathers. When it's not telling you why it has nothing on the actual subject and title of the book it spends time putting several things in context of the time. That's interesting and useful, but again not what the book is supposed to be about.

All that might be passable enough on it's own, but the audio perfomance of the reader is the absolute worst I've ever read in my entire life - and once upon a time I had a subscription at an audio book store (think video rental, but audio books.) I've been through hundreds and hundreds of audio books and this is the flat out worst reading I've ever heard. I wish I could have given the performance zero stars. To give you an idea how bad it is, when my wife walked into the room I was in listening to this book she asked why I was listening to a computer generated voice for this book. There is no inflection. None. I never realized how absolutely important inflection was to keeping you from falling asleep. I can listen to most anything but this is the first book I have to listen to in no more than 45 minute chunks. Any more time and I just can't hold onto the content being read.

If the reading wasn't absolutely abismal the bait and switch between the subject sold and the actual content would be so bad. It is interesting to find out a lot of people burnt their loved ones letters and why, That could hold my attention to a degree, but the god aweful reading means I can't suggest you get this audiobook unless you know there's almost nothing about the actual sex lives of the founding fathers and the reading is best effective at helping insomniacs find sleep.

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robots ok

The narrator sounded like a robot and made it difficult to listen to at times. Overall I enjoyed the book and it's historical viewpoints.

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C+ read

Book is somewhat superficial. But worth the time if you have nothing else going on. Narration sounds a little robotic.