The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation) by Anne Pullman (review)
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Reviewed by
Quirk, Anne The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation); illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley.Knopf, 2017[128p]
Library ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-0036-2 $19.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-0035-5 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5247-0119-2 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4–7

Our current government holds no monopoly on noisome political quarreling, as [End Page 466] middle-graders learn in this quartet of high-profile contentions that marked the establishment of the new American nation. For George Washington and George III, the clash between independence and colonialism played out through force of arms; the same ideological conflict resulted in estrangement between Benjamin Franklin and his eldest son, William. Although Alexander Hamilton famously— and fatally—brought his feud with Aaron Burr to a conclusion in a hubris-driven duel, his my-way-or-the-highway approach to nation building put him at odds with many other colleagues as well. Only the political rift between the second and third Presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, was mended, and the two old rivals seemed to earn a kind of benediction for their reconciliation, departing life on the same day. Quirk’s presentation is brisk and concise, imbued with sardonic humor and occasional barbs directed at her subjects’ pride and bull-headedness that probably would have stung each feuder as sharply as his foe’s invective. Baddeley’s black and white illustrations, while never rising to the level of satiric political cartooning, slip in a few visual zingers and make the work approachable for younger readers. Quotation sources, several online resources, and a selected bibliography of adult works are included.

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