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Dunn, Susan, ed.: Something that will surprise the world; the essential writings of the founding fathers.

DUNN, Susan, ed. Something that will surprise the world; the essential writings of the founding fathers. Perseus, Basic Books. 470p. notes. index. c2006. 978-0-465-01780-5. $17.95. SA

While textbooks and reference books on 18th-century America abound, Susan Dunn's collection of writings by the Founding Fathers offers a unique view. She includes texts by Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, and while her introduction to each statesman is detailed and copiously annotated, the selections themselves are devoid of all commentary. The result is that, for Jefferson, for example, Dunn has selected over 100 pages of his letters, speeches, and formal writings with no further identification than the name of the person addressed or the occasion that prompted the text. It is no problem for the informed reader to identify Benjamin Rush or Eldridge Gerry, but who was Jared Sparks, to whom Jefferson wrote a long missive on the possibility of creating a colony in Africa for the re-colonization of African slaves? This text is extraordinarily rich as a source of the writings of the Founding Fathers, but it requires an adjunct source of details to situate the letters and papers. Patricia Moore, Chestnut Hill, MA

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

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Author:Moore, Patricia
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2008
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