Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution

Charles Rappleye, Simon & Schuster, $30 (576p) ISBN 978-1-4165-7091-2
The first full-length modern biography of an extraordinary, forgotten founder of the American republic, Rappleye's book, the best ever about its subject, is an effective work of rehabilitation. Morris (1734–1806)—a gifted, enterprising, and skilled merchant, banker, and political figure in Philadelphia—was key to the financing of the American Revolution and American government into the 1790s. But because he had many political and business enemies, was a rich Federalist elitist, and ended in debtors' prison for overspeculation in land, he has always remained in the shadows. So has the fact that while deeply committed to the American cause, like many others of his time, he mixed public service with an eye on gain. Rappleye (Sons of Providence) brings Morris and his world brightly alive. Nothing of the financier's full life (his privateering for the war effort; his pioneering trade with China; the "overconfidence" that brought his downfall) escapes Rappleye, and his judgments are balanced and astute. Unfortunately, the work is overstuffed. But perhaps that's necessary to gain Morris the standing he so much deserves among the great figures of the founding era. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/06/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 625 pages - 978-1-4165-7092-9
Ebook - 640 pages - 978-1-4165-7286-2
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