Gwen Ifill's Bookshelf
By David McCullough
I'd lived in Boston and been exposed to Revolutionary War history here and there, but I didn't think I had a passionate interest in the details of our country's founding. McCullough's reading of those events is, well, revolutionary. He shows Thomas Jefferson's arrogance and reports that Ben Franklin was considered to be a dilettante—who knew? We thought they were the unalloyed heroes, only to find John Adams, this short, almost universally disliked guy, was the backbone of the country. As much as I liked the book, I do question whether McCullough's conclusions are right. He overlooked horrible things that John Adams did—including the Sedition Act. Still, no one has been able to make the case for Adams in quite the way McCullough does.