American Creation, by Joseph Ellis

I think this was my favorite non-fiction book of the year. Fantastic, fantastic book, and a great continuation of the themes that Ellis started in Founding Brothers. As usual, Ellis conveys a huge sense of the humanity of our founders, and the real uncertainty of the time. Also as usual, he highlights the landmark differences between the 1776 mood of the Declaration of Independence and the 1787 times of the writing and ratification of the Constitution. What surprised me most (liking it a lot didn’t surprise me at all) was how relevant the discussion is to things I think about today — not just in our government but also related to Mozilla. The ways that the founders engaged in discussions, the new ideas like multi-sovereignty that they pioneered, and the difficulties and opportunities inherent in building a republic at scale — they all spoke to me and had lessons for me in things I work on now.

Loved the book, love the period of history, and loved Ellis’ writing, as usual.


  1. I too, loved this book as well as Founding Brothers. Obama just won 6 days ago and I read this witih all of his winning (our winning) in mind. UCBerkeley College of Letters and Science does what they call: on the same page. Incoming students receive a copy of a book (last year was Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills). Students are to arrive at school having read this book. All of the faculty also read the book and you can imagine what follows. The author arrives on campus at a later date for lecture and discussions. My communty does a similar thing. American Creation could be the “on the same page” for the US. It is so relevant. What would your choice be if there was such a national “on the same page”?