Synopses & Reviews
The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation's most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers
In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary--and he was just getting started.
Rush's true brilliance was as a physician and scientist, and he is still known as the "American Hippocrates" for pioneering a national healthcare system and revolutionizing our treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet his provocative medicine was only part of his legacy. Over his lifetime, Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment--a vocal opponent of the American slave trade and capital punishment--and close friends with its most prominent leaders. He was the prot'g' of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington's surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his entire career, and his place in the narrative of America's founding.
Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images--as well as the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts--and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we've never heard of and installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.
The monumental life of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers
FINALIST FOR THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BOOK PRIZE - AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
By the time he was thirty, Dr. Benjamin Rush had signed the Declaration of Independence, edited Common Sense, toured Europe as Benjamin Franklin's prot g , and become John Adams's confidant, and was soon to be appointed Washington's surgeon general. And as with the greatest Revolutionary minds, Rush was only just beginning his role in 1776 in the American experiment. As the new republic coalesced, he became a visionary writer and reformer; a medical pioneer whose insights and reforms revolutionized the treatment of mental illness; an opponent of slavery and prejudice by race, religion, or gender; an adviser to, and often the physician of, America's first leaders; and "the American Hippocrates." Rush reveals his singular life and towering legacy, installing him in the pantheon of our wisest and boldest Founding Fathers.
Praise for Rush
"Entertaining . . . Benjamin Rush has been undeservedly forgotten. In medicine . . . and] as a political thinker, he was brilliant."--The New Yorker
"Superb . . . reminds us eloquently, abundantly, what a brilliant, original man Benjamin Rush was, and how his contributions to . . . the United States continue to bless us all."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Perceptive . . . a] readable reassessment of Rush's remarkable career."--The Wall Street Journal
"An amazing life and a fascinating book."--CBS This Morning
"Fried makes the case, in this comprehensive and fascinating biography, that renaissance man Benjamin Rush merits more attention. . . . Fried portrays Rush as a complex, flawed person and not just a list of accomplishments; . . . a testament to the authorial thoroughness and insight that will keep readers engaged until the last page."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
" An] extraordinary and underappreciated man is reinstated to his rightful place in the canon of civilizational advancement in Rush. . . . Had I read Fried's Rush before the year's end, it would have crowned my favorite books of 2018 . . . a] superb biography."--Brain Pickings