Synopses & Reviews
Setting the World Ablaze
is the story of the American Revolution and of the three Founders who played crucial roles in winning the War of Independence and creating a new nation: George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Braiding three strands into one rich narrative, John Ferling brings these American icons down from their pedestals to show them as men of flesh and blood, and in doing so gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation.
A leading historian of the Revolutionary era, Ferling draws upon an unsurpassed command of the primary sources and a talent for swiftly moving narrative to give us intimate views of each of these men. He shows us both the overarching historical picture of the era and a gripping sense of how these men encountered the challenges that faced them. We see Washington, containing a profound anger at British injustice within an austere demeanor; Adams, far from home, struggling with severe illness and French duplicity in his crucial negotiations in Paris; and Jefferson, distracted and indecisive, confronting uncertainties about his future in politics. John Adams, in particular, emerges from the narrative as the most under-appreciated hero of the Revolution, while Jefferson is revealed as the most overrated, yet most eloquent, of the Founders. Setting the World Ablaze shows in dramatic detail how these conservative men--successful members of the colonial elite--were transformed into radical revolutionaries.
"Powerful and fascinating....An immensely readable, well-researched volume that emphasizes the importance of individual choice and personal aspiration in the unfolding of a great historical event."--Frank A. Cassell, History
"Ferling compares and contrasts Washington with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and in so doing provides an interesting case study of the factors that enable a few remarkable men to ride the tide of history and, ultimately, to shape it."--American History
"John Ferling tracks the careers of three leading revolutionaries in this entertaining history of the American Revolution....[An] engrossing study."--The American Historical Review
About the Author
is Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia and the author of John Adams: A Life
and The First of Men: A Life of George Washington.
He lives in Carrollton, Georgia.