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Reviews of Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

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Book Profile
Author (1): Andrea Wulf

Hardcopy edition:
Publish date: March 2011
Published by: Knopf
List price: $30.00
ISBN Number: 0307269906

Softcopy edition:
Publish date: April 2012
Published by: Vintage
List price: $18.95
ISBN Number: 0307390683



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Positive Lee_Hughart On Jan 28, 2013, Lee_Hughart wrote:

I received this book as a gift for Christmas from my 9 year old. She was perceptive beyond her years about her father's interests. If you are a gardener and history lover, this book is for you. It focuses on four founding fathers of our nation (the first four presidents) and discusses their agricultural/gardening lives and how it also influenced their political thinking. While Geo. Washington, John Adams, Tho. Jefferson, and James Madison are the main focus, Benj. Franklin is covered as well as the Bartrams of the Philadelphia nursery.

I found many surprises and detailed history of this neglected aspect in these men. While I knew several things prior to reading this book, its coverage of how their love for gardening ran throughout their lives make it a very informative book. It is well written and extensively researched. The endnotes and references take up a significant portion of the book.

Without being too much of spoiler,but to whet your appetite. You will learn that Washington was a farmer first throughout the Revolution and his presidency, Jefferson was a American scientific agriculture proponent and this influenced his Republicanism (not to be confused with today's politics), John Adams was a proponent of American farming innovation and Madison an influencer of the Agricultural Revolution and far ahead of his time in ecological conservation.

All of these were truly innovators in agriculture and cultivators of gardening style. The book is well worth you time for understanding America and these men. It will give you insight into their lives, politics and properties that I have only heard snippets of elsewhere. Plant listings, garden design and political theory are weaved well into an entertaining history. Also, if Washington, DC and the Lewis and Clark Expeditions are of interest, there is something to learn here as well.

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