The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers

Written by Thomas Fleming
Review by Susan Zabolotny

Thomas Fleming’s latest book begins in 1758 with a love letter from George Washington and ends with the death of Washington DC icon Dolley Madison in 1849. All the pages in between are filled with a very compelling study of the men known as the Founding Fathers and the women who influenced them. These men were extraordinary in their achievements, but almost ordinary in their everyday struggle with personal relationships and public life. For instance: one mother passes a fiery temperament on to her son while another is so promiscuous, her son will always lack normal relationships in his adult life. One First Lady is so controlling of her husband and children that she causes her own nervous breakdown, while another, so vivacious and charming, is given much of the credit for her husband’s political success. A deathbed pledge seals a widower’s fate, yet his relationship with a mulatto slave has been the subject of debate for nearly two hundred years. It was a time in history when women did not have a voice, but you’ll hear them anyway as they echo through time on every page. Who were these men and women? Read this fascinating book to find out.