The Authors' Group is delighted to welcome historian Tom Shachtman for a luncheon event to discuss his new book, The Founding Fortunes. Call the Book Stall at 847-446-8880 to make a reservation or to order a signed copy of the book. The Club has a business dress code; no denim or athletic wear please.
In The Founding Fortunes, historian Tom Shachtman offers an in-depth look at a time when money became as vital as guns in securing victory on the Revolutionary War's battlefields, and how some of America's wealthiest men risked their fortunes to aid the new country even as they reaped benefits from its independence. While history teaches that successful revolutions depend on participation by the common man, the establishment of a stable and independent United States first required wealthy colonials uniting to disrupt the very system that had enriched them, and then funding a very long war. While some fortunes were made during the war at the expense of the poor, many of the wealthy embraced the goal of obtaining for their poorer countrymen an unprecedented equality of opportunity, along with independence. Tom Shachtman tells this story through tracing the lives of a dozen men who made and lost fortunes, and deeply affected the finances of the new country. In addition to nuanced views of the well-known wealthy such as Robert Morris and John Hancock, and of the less wealthy but influential Alexander Hamilton, The Founding Fortunes offers insight into the contributions of those often overlooked by popular history: Henry Laurens, the plantation owner who replaced Hancock as President of Congress; pioneering businessmen William Bingham, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Stephen Girard; privateer magnate Elias Hasket Derby; and Hamilton's successors at Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. and Albert Gallatin. Revelatory and insightful, The Founding Fortunes provides a riveting history of economic patriotism that still resonates today.
Tom Schachtman has written or co-authored more than 35 books, as well as documentaries for ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and BBC, and has taught at New York University and lectured at Harvard, Stanford, Georgia Tech, the Smithsonian, and the Library of Congress. He is a former chairman of The Writers Room in Manhattan, a trustee of the Connecticut Humanities Council, a founding director of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, and an occasional columnist for the Lakeville Journal of Northwest Connecticut.
In The Founding Fortunes, historian Tom Shachtman reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes.