The Corner


In the crowded field of the founders’ revival, the historian I read most often is Joseph Ellis, who combines academic chops and readability.

Some old books are still best. Clinton Rossiter’s 1787: The Grand Convention is the book I would recommend on the Constitutional Convention; Carl Van Doren’s Benjamin Franklin is my favorite biography of Ben.

History doesn’t get any better than Henry Adams’s History of the United States in the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and biography doesn’t get any worse than his John Randolph of Roanoke, which I compared to the circle of hell where the damned gnaw each other. Still, it’s a great read.