Something That Will
Surprise the World:
The Essential Writings
of the Founding Fathers

Edited by Susan Dunn

Foreword by Joseph J. Ellis 


-Basic Books, 2006

The Founding Fathers—Washington, Hamilton,
Jefferson, Adams, Madison. Subjects of hundreds of
biographies, they are rarely allowed to speak to us in
their own words. But it was their words and ideas that
mattered most to them. As James Madison wrote, “The
biography of an author must be a history of his writings.”
Here, finally, these towering figures come together in one
volume—in dialogue with one another, and with us.

The Founders were thinking revolutionaries—they
read, questioned, debated, and, most of all, wrote. They
theorized about government and political institutions;
considered the problem of parties and factions; and
reflected on religion, education, happiness, and even on
love. In this volume, distinguished historian Susan Dunn
brings together the Founders’ most important letters,
speeches, and essays and sets them in the context of their
lives and times.

Through their words, the Founders created the
first republic of the modern world. Their courage, creativity,
intellect, and genius would never be surpassed.
Here they are, in the present tense of their extraordinary
lives. To understand who they were, this is where we
must begin.

Read the Review in The Washington Times