Setting the World Ablaze by John Ferling
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution

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Setting the World Ablaze is the story of the American Revolution and of the three Founders who played crucial roles in winning the War of Independence and creating a new nation: George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Braiding three strands into one rich narrative, John Ferling brings these American icons down from their pedestals to show them as men of flesh and blood, and in doing so gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation.
A leading historian of the Revolutionary era, Ferling draws upon an unsurpassed command of the primary sources and a talent for swiftly moving narrative to give us intimate views of each of these men. He shows us both the overarching historical picture of the era and a gripping sense of how these men encountered the challenges that faced them. We see Washington, containing a profound anger at British injustice within an austere demeanor; Adams, far from home, struggling with severe illness and French duplicity in his crucial negotiations in Paris; and Jefferson, distracted and indecisive, confronting uncertainties about his future in politics. John Adams, in particular, emerges from the narrative as the most under-appreciated hero of the Revolution, while Jefferson is revealed as the most overrated, yet most eloquent, of the Founders. Setting the World Ablaze shows in dramatic detail how these conservative men--successful members of the colonial elite--were transformed into radical revolutionaries.

About John Ferling

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John Ferling is Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia and the author of John Adams: A Life and The First of Men: A Life of George Washington. He lives in Carrollton, Georgia.
Published May 2, 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA. 428 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Revolutionary War historian Ferling (The First of Men, 1998) assesses the impact of our three great Founding Fathers by reconstructing their lives from the documents they left behind.

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Ferling brilliantly analyzes all three towering figures -- Washington, Adams, and Jefferson -- within a specific historical context, to be sure, but also in terms of each other.

Jul 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Setting the World Ablaze: Was...


Ferling rightly points out that the war was won by thousands of soldiers in the field, and no less by an even greater number of wives and mothers and daughters back home who bore the personal sacrifice of long separations from their loved ones, but that all of these people needed the sense of dir...

Aug 11 2001 | Read Full Review of Setting the World Ablaze: Was...

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