Publisher: The History Hour
Release Date: 1st October, 2019
Genre: Non-Fiction – History
Rating: 4/5 Stars
When I watched Hamilton last year, I realised something: I had absolutely no idea about the founding of the United States of America. It’s not something we’re taught in school (which is fair because I did attend school in the UK) and when I did American Studies at University, I opted for literature rather than history, though yes it would have been great to do both.
So, my understanding and knowledge around the ‘Founding Fathers’ is sketchy, and very much informed by pop culture. When this popped up on Audible, I figured it would be a good way to find out a bit more without going in too deep.
It was a good choice. This isn’t the most riveting of books, and the narrator is maybe a touch on the dry, slow side – I rarely speed up audiobooks but I ended up setting this to 1.5. It doesn’t spend too long on each man, but just enough to give you a cursory overview of their lives, achievements, and deaths.
One thing I appreciated about this was it didn’t shy away from pointing out the flaws of each man, their hypocrisy in what they said regarding the abolition of slavery, and the fact they had slaves themselves. It doesn’t go deeply into being critical of them, but it doesn’t hugely tilt the other way, either. It feels fairly balanced, presenting facts and leaving the reader to decide for themselves. These are all names people will be very familiar with, but many might not know the stories behind their upbringings and their families alongside their political careers. With this, The History Hour present just enough detail you can feel more informed by the end, but not so much it drags on. It works well for an introduction to these men, especially if, like me, you knew almost nothing except what had been put in a musical.