Monday, November 9, 2020

The Patriots: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America

The Patriots: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America
by Winston Groom
Published November 2020 by National Geographic
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review

Publishers Summary:
In this masterful narrative, Winston Groom brings his signature storytelling panache to the tale of our nation’s most fascinating founding fathers–Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams–painting a vivid picture of the improbable events, bold ideas, and extraordinary characters who created the United States of America. 

When the Revolutionary War ended in victory, there remained a stupendous problem: establishing a workable democratic government in the vast, newly independent country. Three key founding fathers played significant roles: John Adams, the brilliant, dour New Englander; Thomas Jefferson, the aristocratic Southern renaissance man; and Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean island of Nevis. In this riveting narrative, best-selling author Winston Groom illuminates these men as the patriots fundamentally responsible for the ideas that shaped the emerging United States. Their lives could not have been more different, and their relationships with each other were often rife with animosity. And yet they led the charge–two of them creating and signing the Declaration of Independence, and the third establishing a national treasury and the earliest delineation of a Republican party. The time in which they lived was fraught with danger, and their achievements were strained by vast antagonisms that recall the intense political polarization of today. But through it all, they managed to shoulder the heavy mantle of creating the United States of America, putting aside their differences to make a great country. Drawing on extensive correspondence, Groom shares the remarkable story of the beginnings of our great nation.

My Thoughts:
I've long had an interest in the Revolutionary War and those involved in it and the founding of this country. I did, after all, grow up with an American History teacher for a father, a man who took us to many of the significant sites of the early United States. Over the years I've done some of my own reading as well. But recently we've come to find out that what we learned growing up isn't all there is to story of the founding of this country. And then there was Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, which amped up everyone's interest in this period of our history and the players involved, including mine. 

Groom gives on overview of each of his subjects' lives in the opening chapters, which especially makes this a good book for those just beginning to delve deeper into this part of our history. He doesn't dive too deeply into each man's early years but begins to flesh out their lives when them become involved in the Revolution and, more importantly, in their roles in developing this country into what it has become. There's not, I suspect, a lot of new information here for those who have really studied these men or this time period. Still, Groom's novel writing skills show through in making this an immensely readable book and there was certainly plenty of new information for people like me, who aren't scholars of the subject matter. Most interesting to me was reading about the relationship between these men, a subject that Miranda's musical really made me want to learn more about. It's not a bad thing to realize that politics have always been messy in our country, with personalities that influence decisions.

I sort of feel like a kid when I pick up an history book and get excited to find pictures but I always feel like they are helpful to visualize the players in a book and the places they lived and worked. This book has an especially good full-color section which I flipped to as I read, even though many of the portraits were familiar to me. 

My husband wanted to be the person in this house who read this book for review. I'm glad I prevailed and got the first shot at it. I enjoyed it a lot. I suppose I'll have to let him read it before I pass it on to my dad, but I'm really looking forward to getting his thoughts on this one.

Thanks to the ladies of TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other opinions about this book, check out the full tour here

About Winston Groom:

WINSTON GROOM was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Mobile, Alabama, on the Gulf Coast. After a brief period in the Army, Groom returned to Washington, where he worked as a reporter at the Washington Star, covering the political and court beat. He enjoyed a stint in New York City, befriending and socializing with literary legends before returning to Alabama, where he settled down to writing and enjoying life. He is the author of 18 previous books, including Forrest Gump and The Aviators. Sadly, Mr. Groom died in September this year. 


  1. I have some Hamilton fans that would love this! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. The Hamilton musical certainly is responsible for my interest in this area and I'll have to look this one up. I'm just very fascinated by the dynamics between Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams.

  3. This one looks interesting. It's great to get fun-to-read history book but that are also accurate!