2021 new arrival Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin sale Rush, lowest the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father online

2021 new arrival Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin sale Rush, lowest the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father online

2021 new arrival Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin sale Rush, lowest the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father online

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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 protégé, 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

Review

“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

“Fried, a talented story teller, has given his readers a page-turning text to enjoy . . . [he] has brought Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush back to life for modern readers. Overall, this volume represents a most worthy addition to major biographies about the founding fathers of the United States . . . A fast paced volume [that] deserves a wide reading audience.” Journal of the American Revolution

“Dr. Benjamin Rush may not be a household name, but the young signatory of the Declaration of Independence led a remarkable life. . . . Historian Stephen Fried has brought this lesser-known revolutionary figure to life.” WHYY

“A well-crafted story of early America and the Revolutionary War . . . a biography of a Founding Father, physician and founder of psychiatric medicine. Quite a literary undertaking, and done with skill and grace.” The Lancet

“Fried is able to bring a bygone era into focus...a sweeping look at a complicated life.” The Santa Fe New Mexican

“A welcome biography of a Founding Father . . . [who] became a prominent revolutionary and signer of the Declaration of Independence, then surgeon general of the Continental Army . . . renowned in the annals of American medicine as a pioneer of medical education and the treatment of the mentally ill. . . . A complete portrait of a complex man...who excited attention and controversy in his day but then fell into the shadows. Fried does well to restore him to history.” Kirkus Reviews

“A fantastic biography of a man who deserves more attention and applause from modern society . . . the introduction to Rush is a brilliant portrayal of the man’s importance and provides fuel for the story to follow.” Medium

“Fried’s reclamation of this important, overlooked American founder is an invaluable addition to American history collections and a solid recommendation to biography fans.” Booklist

“The best books are full of surprises.  Rush has more of them than any historical biography I have read in ages. It is vast and sumptuous and brings to life Founding Father Benjamin Rush in full technicolor. Too long ignored, Rush’s varied and mercurial brilliance puts him smack in the company of such figures as Adams and Jefferson and Washington and Hamilton with one exception: he is more interesting than any of them. He revolutionized  medicine. He revolutionized  healthcare. He revolutionized  life. Fried draws it all out with his usual perfect pitch of reportage and writing. What a grand feast and feat.” —Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City

“Benjamin Rush is best known as the founding father the more famous founders wrote to. Stephen Fried, in this fascinating biography, shows us why we need to reconsider, and pay more attention to a man whose talents rivaled Franklin’s, opinions equaled Adams’s, and facility with language approached Jefferson’s.” —H.W. Brands, author of The First American and Heirs of the Founders

“Stephen Fried has written a gem of a book—the riveting story of a Founding Father who is too often forgotten. In this magnificent work, Benjamin Rush gets the biography he deserves, and readers get an expertly researched, splendidly written account of a brilliant, influential man and the times in which he lived.” —Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life

“An engrossing exploration of a founding father whose life sheds new light on the American Revolution, as well as on the ongoing challenges of civil rights and mental healthcare in this country. I had no idea how much Rush helped to shape our young nation and how urgent his voice remains today. Anyone who cares about our past and future—politically, medically, spiritually—should read this masterful biography.” —Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, co-author of A Common Struggle

“An important and fascinating account of a relatively neglected yet critical Founding Father.  Benjamin Rush—Surgeon General of the Continental Army, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Jefferson''s choice for medical advisor to the Lewis and Clark Expedition—is also acknowledged as the father of American Psychiatry for his study and treatment of the mentally ill. Stephen Fried brings to life Rush''s extraordinary political and medical contributions, as well as the times in which he lived." —Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire

About the Author

STEPHEN FRIED is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Pennsylvania. He is, most recently, the author of the historical biography Appetite for America, and the coauthor, with Congressman Patrick Kennedy, of A Common Struggle. His earlier books include the biography Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia and the investigative books Bitter Pills and The New Rabbi. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Fried has written frequently for Vanity Fair, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Rolling Stone, Glamour, and Philadelphia Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Benjamin Rush’s “first unwelcome noise in the world” rang out from a second-floor bedroom of the stone farmhouse in Byberry, northeast of Philadelphia, on Christmas Eve, 1745.

His cries were heard downstairs in the first-floor common room, where the Rush family had been gathering at the hearth for three generations. The room had gone from a place for “conversations about wolves and bears and snakes in the first settlement of the farm” to a place for discussions “about cows, and calves and colts and lambs, and the comparative exploits of reapers and mowers and threshers,” as Rush’s grandfather had shifted from simple farming to metalwork, and Rush’s father, John, developed as a talented blacksmith and gunsmith.

The news of Benjamin’s birth was greeted with thanks to God. The Rush family were “pious people,” their conversations infused “at all times with prayers and praises, and chapters read audibly from the Bible.”

The Rushes were also quietly defiant people. An old sword hung in the farmhouse—and in every subsequent place Benjamin Rush lived—that had been carried into battle by his great-grandfather, John, a horse trooper in Oliver Cromwell’s army during its fight against the Crown in the English Civil War. The family had left the Church of England to become Quakers, then fled England for America with William Penn in 1683. There they split off from their original Quaker group of Byberry Friends in 1691, before departing Quakerism altogether to become Baptists, and eventually circling back around to the Church of England.

Benjamin Rush was the fourth of seven children and the second-eldest son. His father, John, was quiet and stolid, and what he lacked in formal education he made up for with hard work and “a talent for observation and combination”—an ability to understand people and connect dots that others didn’t even see. While he didn’t talk a lot, what he said was often notable; Rush’s mother remembered that when their children began to speak, her husband said, “The first words of a child, and the last words of a saint, are the sweetest music in the world.” Rush’s mother, Susanna Hall Rush, was five years older than John and came from a more affluent family in nearby Tacony. She had attended boarding school in Philadelphia and was considered “a woman of a very extraordinary mind,” full of energy and insight. She had been married once before, a pairing recalled as “unfortunate” and “full of misery,” ending with her husband dying young of “extravagance and intemperance.”

Rush spent the first several years of his life on the family farm, with his older brother James, his sisters Rachel and Rebecca, and a younger brother, Jacob: five children born over seven years. Susanna raised them with help from her daughter from her previous marriage, a cook, and several farmhands. Rush’s strongest memories of the farm were of the apple orchard his father cultivated, and a “small but deep creek abounding with pan fish.” The boys fished, shot and hunted, learning respect for the guns their father made and repaired—flintlock pistols, muskets, and the new American long rifle.

Rush was a thin, sturdy boy, with light-colored hair, expressive blue-gray eyes, a long nose, and a thin-lipped mouth that he almost never shut. He was aggressively curious about facts, opinions, Scripture, and people, to the point of seeming intellectually and personally nosy. He was clearly precocious but was not as serious-minded as his parents would have liked. “Those who knew me at that time,” he recalled, “would remember me only as an idle, playful, and I am sorry to add, sometimes a mischievous boy.”

Besides the farm in Byberry, John Rush’s family owned property in Philadelphia, thirteen miles southwest down the Delaware River. There was more demand there for his talents, so he began working in the city, setting up shop in a building his mother’s family owned. Eventually he decided to leave the farm and move his family from the serene countryside into what was becoming the largest city in the American colonies—where life was percolating, screeching, and reeking of whichever way the wind was blowing.

Philadelphia had just overtaken Boston as the most populated city in America, with over fifteen thousand of its 1.2 million inhabitants, and Pennsylvania was becoming the most powerful American colony. The city was in the midst of an American-style Enlightenment, much of it instigated, or at least personified, by the celebrated Benjamin Franklin. Tall and solidly built, with long, light brown hair and a wide, easy smile, Franklin was now in his early forties. As a teenager, he had moved to Philadelphia from Boston, gotten involved in the printing business, and founded the famed Junto, a combination salon and debating society that became a cornerstone of free thinking and the propagation of what he called “useful knowledge.” He then helped create a successful newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, wrote and published the contagiously quotable Poor Richard’s Almanac, and began using his powers of civic persuasion to convince fellow citizens to help him build new institutions, including the first volunteer fire company, the first fire insurance company, and the first public library. In 1748, with change still coming too slowly for him, he retired from his printing business to dedicate his life to scientific study, politics, and civic entrepreneurship.

The Rush family arrived in town in the late 1740s, just as some of Franklin’s most ambitious and transformative projects were coming to fruition. Thanks to his efforts herding rich and smart people, Philadelphia suddenly had the nation’s first secular college and its first public hospital; in his spare time, Franklin had just published a paper proposing to prove lightning was electricity by experimenting with a kite in a storm.

John Rush settled his family in a house at number 82 N. Front Street, just a block north of the city’s main commercial thoroughfare, its spinal cord. The wide avenue had originally been named High Street, like the main street in most English cities. But because William Penn had designed a large outdoor market to run up its center, with stalls that were busy year round, everyone referred to the street as “Market.” (The produce sellers were often called the “Jersey Market,” because so many of them brought produce and animals across from New Jersey on barges.) On either side of Market Street were many of the city’s main stores and business offices, including, on the 300 block, Franklin’s print shop and home.

Just north of Market on Second Street was Christ Church—the city’s largest and most prestigious, at that time affiliated with the Church of England. Franklin worshipped there on Sundays in his family’s reserved pew. While Rush’s mother was Presbyterian, and had been raising the children in her faith on the farm, when they moved into town John had the family join Christ Church in part because it was the right thing to do for business; Benjamin Rush was baptized there and it was the first place he ever “heard divine worship.”

Just south of Market on Chestnut at Fifth was the Pennsylvania State House, the seat of government for the commonwealth. Because political business was booming, too, the colonial assembly had decided to expand the building, with an addition topped off by the city’s tallest structure: its first major clock tower with a new bell, the largest in the colonies, which would be used to mark time, sound for official meetings, and ring out for fires and other emergencies.

Just across the way from the Rush’s front door was the vast port of Philadelphia itself, the most active and profitable in America. It was crowded with boats from around the colonies and the world, which arrived there by sailing south, below the southern tip of New Jersey, and then up through Delaware Bay to the river. Philadelphia was bounded by another, smaller river to the West, the Schuylkill—but that was thirty blocks from the Delaware, almost in the countryside, and therefore much less of a thoroughfare. A tributary of the Delaware, the Dock Creek, flowed into the city around Spruce Street and served mostly as an open sewer and a place for local tanneries and other businesses to dump their waste.

John Rush’s blacksmith shop was on the first floor of a three-story redbrick building, and the family lived upstairs. Benjamin enjoyed the sounds and tactile pleasures of his father’s heavy iron tools and the flintlock rifles and pistols he built and repaired. It didn’t take John long to build up his business; more and more men were carrying guns instead of swords, so demand was good, and he developed a dependable reputation. As a child, Benjamin Rush often heard that one of the highest compliments you could receive in the neighborhood was to be told you were “as honest as John Rush.”

John and Susanna Rush had two more children in Philadelphia: a daughter, Stephenson, who died within a year, followed by a son, whom they named John. But not long after the birth of his namesake, in the summer of 1751, John Rush unexpectedly died. He was only thirty-nine years old, and his mischievous son Ben (as he was called then) was only five and a half. Almost nothing is known about John Rush’s death, and his son never speculated on what illness took him. He only related that “his death was peaceful and happy” and “the last words he uttered were ‘Lord! Lord! Lord! Lord!’ ”

Weeks after her husband’s death, Susanna Rush also lost her new baby. Father and son were buried together, on August 19, 1751, in one grave at the Christ Church burial ground. And Susanna Rush, then forty-four, was left to raise three boys and two girls ranging in age from four to twelve. Her situation became more grim when it became clear her husband had not left her enough money to support the family and school the children.

That fall, while settling his estate, she was forced to rent out his shop space and sell off his blacksmithing tools. She also offered for sale several people she could no longer afford, beginning with a “likely negroe woman [who] has had the small-pox and measles,” as she advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette. In an expanded version of the advertisement, two months later, she offered “to be sold two Negro women, one of which has two children, can do all manner of house-work and is fit for both town or country business.”

These ads suggest that, at some point, either Susanna or her husband had inherited or bought slaves, at least one of whom might have been with them back on the farm. An ad several years later (when Rush was nine) shows her selling two more servants. One of them is described as “a white lad” who “has upwards of three years to serve”—which means he was probably an “indentured” servant, his exclusive employment paid and contracted for over a set period of time. The other, a twenty-seven-year-old “Negroe woman . . . an excellent cook, understands a dairy very well, and is fit for a gentleman’s country house,” was likely a slave.

Benjamin Rush never mentioned that his family owned slaves when he later started writing passionately against the practice. But these women were likely the first slaves he knew as a child, and they helped raise him. They certainly informed his earliest ideas about slavery and race—as did living a block and a half from the main slave auction stand for Philadelphia’s port, located in front of the Indian King Tavern, on Market just past Second. It wasn’t far from Rush’s house, and he may very well have been able to hear the auctions from his bedroom window.

With the proceeds from the estate sale, Susanna Rush opened a store around the corner on the south side of Market Street, four doors below Second. Her shop didn’t have a name, just a sign painted with what appeared to be a comet, so its location was “at the Sign of the Blazing Star.” (Numbered addresses were uncommon; most stores oriented themselves by proximity to landmarks and street corners.) The store at the Blazing Star sold food and liquors, both wholesale and retail, and became fairly successful.

Susanna quit Christ Church and began worshipping instead at the Presbyterian meeting house two blocks away on Fourth Street. It was led by forty-nine-year-old Rev. Gilbert Tennent, a rousing Irish-born evangelical orator who, like his father before him, was considered part of the spiritual “Great Awakening” in the colonies. Besides her preference for Tennent’s fiery sermons, the switch probably had something to do with the fact that her younger sister, Sarah Hall, had married a close friend of Tennent’s, the Rev. Samuel Finley. After a period on the pulpit, Reverend Finley had left to start a boarding school in Maryland, the West Nottingham Academy, which was a favorite of well-to-do Philadelphia families.

Tennent seemed like a good father figure and role model for her boys. And Reverend Finley’s boarding school, if she could save up the money to pay for it, would offer them a chance for a prestigious religious and secular education, under the watchful eye of family.

This was especially important for Benjamin, who even at age six was demonstrating what some called a “genius for learning.” He had an astonishing memory—not only amazing recall but an ability to make subtle connections that was even more pronounced than his father’s. Susanna felt certain that Benjamin would benefit from boarding school, imagining that he might be inspired to join the clergy himself someday and spread the gospel. She expected her youngest son, Jacob, to go to boarding school as well. However, she apparently did not have similar optimism for her eldest son, James. Six years older than Benjamin, he was, Rush recalled, “a young man of promising character” who was “much afflicted with a nervous disease” after his father’s death; his physicians “advised a sea-life,” so he left home as a teen to work on ships.

Susanna Rush worked hard to keep her household going and scrape together the money to send Benjamin and Jacob to school, building up her business and eventually buying another building on the other side of Market Street to open a china shop. She raised her family without a husband for nearly four years—along with a cook and a servant and her daughter from a previous marriage. And she prospered, as one of colonial Philadelphia’s few female entrepreneurs.

She was not, however, as fortunate in love as in business. In 1755 she married a local distiller, Richard Morris, who Rush recalled as “rough, unkind and often abusive” to her. Luckily, by the time the new husband arrived—or perhaps because of his arrival—Benjamin and Jacob were away at school.

The West Nottingham Academy was sixty miles from Philadelphia, near where the Susquehanna River crosses from Pennsylvania into Maryland—a bucolic setting far from city life. The school building was a simple log structure, near the large stone mansion house where the headmaster, Finley, lived with his wife, Rush’s Aunt Sarah, and their children. Over the next five years Benjamin and Jacob lived in the mansion as well, along with all the other boys studying at the academy. Between family, students, and employees, there were generally about thirty people on the West Nottingham grounds, all committed to the moral education of young men.

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GSL
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rush - A Major Rediscovery of an American Founder
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2018
Based just on the preface, I am eager to follow Rush''s life story. UPDATE: having read several chapters, I can''t wait each day to return to this compelling narrative. With rich, newly uncovered source material, Fried paints a vivid picture of the era and Benjamin... See more
Based just on the preface, I am eager to follow Rush''s life story.

UPDATE: having read several chapters, I can''t wait each day to return to this compelling narrative. With rich, newly uncovered source material, Fried paints a vivid picture of the era and Benjamin Rush''s role. Having lived in Philadelphia, I knew a bit of his early work in mental health and addiction but had no idea of his pivotal place among the framers of the Constitution and the lives of Adams, Jefferson and Washington. I believe that the author has broken fresh ground on Rush and made a major rediscovery of a relatively unknown founder. Should be of interest to all, including those who don''t read widely in American history. You will want to know the inspired and inspiring Benjamin Rush.
44 people found this helpful
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joyful27
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Madness Brought into Light
Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2018
About two weeks ago I saw the author Stephen Fried doing a TV interview. He talked about a Founding Father I had never heard of and he was a Doctor a well-educated and trained physician. He signed the Declaration of Independence was friends with Benjamin Franklin, John... See more
About two weeks ago I saw the author Stephen Fried doing a TV interview. He talked about a Founding Father I had never heard of and he was a Doctor a well-educated and trained physician. He signed the Declaration of Independence was friends with Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. He was one of the youngest men to sign the Declaration. During the Revolutionary War he advocated for certain reforms that would lower the deaths among the soldiers and provide them with better care. He also was concerned about the care of the mentally ill and advocated for them and got a wing on the Pennsylvania hospital added so they could be brought out of the cold basement.

It''s a fascinating story and has never been fully told before because his family did not want his falling our with George Washington to come out and ruin their careers in the government. Now all these years later Stephen Fried has told it and all those interested in our early history should read it. One thing I loved when they were forming the new government and had a Department of War he thought we should also have a Department of Peace. There is so much more about our early history, the history of education and medicine in our country.

I also want to say when I saw the interview and found it was not yet available in my library I ordered my own copy. I should also mention my special interest is because I''m a retired RN and I felt I should know about this dedicated physician.
27 people found this helpful
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Ronald H. Clark
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The remarkably multi-talented physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence
Reviewed in the United States on October 3, 2018
This is an extensive and insightful biography of Dr. Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), a remarkably influential physician, medical educator, political activist, and productive author. Though he was a signer of the Declaration, he is generally not known today nearly as well as his... See more
This is an extensive and insightful biography of Dr. Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), a remarkably influential physician, medical educator, political activist, and productive author. Though he was a signer of the Declaration, he is generally not known today nearly as well as his colleagues Jefferson, Adams, and Washington. And this is unfortunate since he was one of the most influential medical and political leaders of the revolutionary and early national period.

First he was a remarkable physician trained in Philadelphia (where he spent most of his life) and Edinburgh. He became not only a famed practitioner, but also hospital administrator for the Revolutionary army and in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Hospital and University of Pennsylvania. He led the fight against several severe Yellow Fever epidemics and published his findings. He was also a pioneer in treating the mentally ill and wrote leading books on the topic. And he made important improvements in medical education and the training of apprentice physicians.

Rush also became involved in politics, serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress (where he signed the Declaration) and came to know Washington and John Adams well enough later to be appointed by both to respected federal offices. Ironically, a careless letter criticizing Washington''s leadership during the war did not isolate him from the first president, though bitterness apparently persisted on Washington for the remainder of his life. As if these two dimensions were not enough, Rush also published extensively on medical and other subjects thereby sharing his extensive knowledge in several fields.

Along the way, he was involved with the American Philosophical Society, several medical associations, participated in the Pennsylvania ratification convention, founded Dickinson College, became a leading advocate for free public education, led many abolition activities in Philadelphia while aiding the African-American community, helped prepare the Lewis and Clark expedition, and was instrumental in reestablishing warm and friendly contacts between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after a long period of mutual hostility. So his impact on his times was dramatic and invaluable.

This is the book that Rush deserves. The author clearly undertook this project as a labor of love, and he was simply indefatigable in devoting several years to extremely thorough research. Both the 48 pages of notes and the 13 page bibliography bring together virtually anything published by or about Rush; as such they are major contributions as well. My only criticism is that this book of nearly 600 pages could certainly have been shortened and better focused by more extensive editing. Far too many pages are devoted to Yellow Fever epidemics, for example. But I would rather have too much material than not enough any day. As a bonus, the reader learns a great deal about colonial life, fighting the American revolution, the disgraceful treatment of mentally impaired patients, the practice of medicine, and and gains some remarkable insights to that prickly fellow, John Adams. A book of many virtues which is also a pleasure to read. Well done, indeed!
20 people found this helpful
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Donald N. Powell
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent biography
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2018
One of the best biographies of a Founding Father. The author has a true passion for the topic which engulfs the reader. The selection of material from such a long productive life must have been agonizing. Benjamin Rush was obviously a key player in America''s existence... See more
One of the best biographies of a Founding Father. The author has a true passion for the topic which engulfs the reader. The selection of material from such a long productive life must have been agonizing. Benjamin Rush was obviously a key player in America''s existence but also one of the least recognized. Mr. Fried made this point abundantly clear in a fresh, compelling and revealing way. This author has a unique ability to disclose the details of the subject''s humanity. This is refreshingly done for a founding father. Benjamin Rush was an amazing model for many of us, a product of his time but also a visionary with a true Christian soul.
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Paul Henry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Peripheral" Founder? Not quite.
Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2019
I have always been curious to learn a little more about this peripheral Founding Father named Benjamin Rush. His name would so often pop up especially in biographies of Adams and Jefferson as being the person responsible for bringing these aged Founders back together again... See more
I have always been curious to learn a little more about this peripheral Founding Father named Benjamin Rush. His name would so often pop up especially in biographies of Adams and Jefferson as being the person responsible for bringing these aged Founders back together again later in life. So I thought I would take the time to read this newer biography. Much to my surprise, I discovered that Dr. Rush was anything but a peripheral actor on the stage of the revolution. While he lacked the laurels of military and political offices, his influence on the Revolution and post-Revolutionary America in political, social, scientific and medical areas is significant. As with all historic figures, he was a deeply flawed and sometimes conflicted individual - especially with regard to his ability to hold a grudge against his foes. However these laws do not detract from his character but makes his life more interesting reading. Few buyer fees have so open my eyes into the character of its subject as this one. Perhaps this will instigate more scholarly attention to the life of Dr. Rush.
11 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Calling all Revolutionary War historians
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2020
Prepare to get to know an American Patriot you may have only heard of in passing! Benjamin Rush was part of the group of movers and shakers who brought us out from under the thumb of King George...but other than small mentions in our history books, we never really... See more
Prepare to get to know an American Patriot you may have only heard of in passing! Benjamin Rush was part of the group of movers and shakers who brought us out from under the thumb of King George...but other than
small mentions in our history books, we never really see his value in this struggle. An early reformer--women''s rights, and health, medical study, mental health reform, environmental issues, education for all--Dr. Rush made his mark quietly in the 1700s. He has been honored as the "Father of Modern Psychology." Politically, he influenced, and caused publication, of some of the most radical ideas of the Revolution in his support of "Common Sense." A friend of many of the Founding Fathers, he influenced Washington and even Franklin in decisions made during the war, but irritated most with his ardor and intensity. His changes in military medicine were, in them selves, revolutionary. But if you haven''t really looked at this history, you''d never know. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he should be considered an "A" level founding father. Like many of those men, Rush had some blinders common to the age in many areas. Today''s criticism of these Revolutionary leaders, can be applied to Rush as well, but none of this detracts significantly from his efforts and successes during his life. Author, Stephen Fried, has written a great volume of Revolution and American history.
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61 and holding
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a fine introduction to one of the least known founding fathers
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2020
Benjamin Rush was born in Philadelphia in 1746 and died in 1812 at age 66. He became the most prominent American physician and public health advocate before, during and after the American revolution. He finished medical school in Scotland where he dined with David Hume and... See more
Benjamin Rush was born in Philadelphia in 1746 and died in 1812 at age 66. He became the most prominent American physician and public health advocate before, during and after the American revolution. He finished medical school in Scotland where he dined with David Hume and Samuel Johnson. He returned to America as one of 4 professors at the first medical school in the colonies. He declared mental illness and addiction to be medical conditions that needed to be treated as such, and at his hospital laid the foundations for psychiatry, clinical psychology, and addiction medicine. He convinced Thomas Paine to write Common Sense, which Rush titled and edited and brought to a publisher. He was elected to the second continental congress at age 30 and signed the Declaration of Independence and married the daughter of a fellow signer. He treated patients throughout the war, crossed the Delaware with Washington and served as his surgeon general. He played a role in the ratification of the constitution, particularly separation of church and state and protection of religious liberty.
He was the nation’s loudest advocate for universal public schooling. He wrote a bold abolitionist pamphlet and helped young African American clergymen start the first black churches in America and was invited to roof raisings and inaugural dinners. He was close to Adams and Jefferson and became the medical advisor to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
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Virginia New Yorker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating biography of Rush and Founders
Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2021
Although I knew from family genealogy that I am descended from Dr. Benjamin Rush and that he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, often heralded as the Father of Modern Psychiatry, I had no idea of his pivotal role in Revolutionary-era politics. Mr. Fried’s... See more
Although I knew from family genealogy that I am descended from Dr. Benjamin Rush and that he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, often heralded as the Father of Modern Psychiatry, I had no idea of his pivotal role in Revolutionary-era politics. Mr. Fried’s biography is not only authoritative and well-documented but engaging, immersive, covering Rush’s personal, medical and political history. His critical attitude towards George Washington’s early performance in the Revolutionary War was a total surprise to me. In addition, the thinking and medical treatments of disease, especially yellow fever, and mental illness were a revelation. In short, this was an excellent read and beautifully sourced. I might add that I am an infrequent non-fiction reader, but loved this one.
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Edward B. Crutchley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stolid
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2019
This is a stolid, pleasantly written and presented account of Benjamin Rush’s life, his family, and other principal actors and actions of the American Revolution. The text includes frequent excerpts from contemporary correspondence. Given that one main preoccupation was...See more
This is a stolid, pleasantly written and presented account of Benjamin Rush’s life, his family, and other principal actors and actions of the American Revolution. The text includes frequent excerpts from contemporary correspondence. Given that one main preoccupation was medicine and mental health, it might have been interesting to have been provided with a better sense of Rush’s influence in its historical context.
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