Contact

For media enquiries and speaking requests regarding The Founders at Home, please contact:

Rachel Salzman (e-mail)
Associate Director of Publicity
W. W. Norton & Company (website)
617-487-8660

For all other enquiries and to contact the author, please e-mail me or leave a comment below.

16 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Mr. Magnet … very anxious to get your new book! BUT, I find with my schedule listening to audio books more efficient than reading. I checked on audible.com and I can’t find any of your previous works. Is there any possibility this might be accomplished? I have seen that this is a substantial work of almost 500 pages which includes many illustrations, so I probably will be interested in both formats.

  2. Dear Mr. Magnet: Thanks so much for writing such a illuminating and different view of the founding fathers. I recall the first time I followed the Freedom Trail in Boston as a young college student and the visit to Paul Revere’s home. It brought our Revolution to life for me. I have never forgotten that experience. After College I joined the Navy and after 20 years of visiting lots of places in the world that do not have a Freedom Trail or well preserved homes of their counties founders, you book is a critical aspect of ensuring that we continue to respect and learn from the founders if we are to keep the ideal of freedom alive and well. I have visited Mount Vernon, but none of the others. I will make it a life goal to visit each of these homes and pay my respects to the founders and their vision. Your book is a new addition to the Freedom Trail. Thank You.

    • I am not surprised that your world travels have made so luminously clear to you how singular–how unique–is the freedom our Founders won for us, I spoke at the Boston Athenaeum a couple of weeks ago and looked out the back windows into the churchyard where Paul Revere lies buried. What amazing courage it took for those people to stand up against the world’s greatest military in defense of an idea–the idea of individual liberty that came to them, as I try to explain in the book, from their unique culture and historical experience, an idea that can’t just be conjured up out of thin air, as you and I have seen in our lifetimes, through failure after failure in other countries.

  3. The information in the book is excellent and written with clarity and excitement, but I must ask that Mr. Magnet read, at a minimum, Document 42 in silasdeaneonline,org to be more fully aware of the complicated story of Beaumarchais, Deane and Lee. While the Lees are central characters in Mr. Magnet’s story, in many cases quite deservedly so, Silas Deane receives only scorn and accusations, while he too did much for the Revolution and, coincidentally, has a beautifully restored home in Wethersfield, CT.
    I look forward to your response to this request. Jan Peake

    • Thank you so much for your interesting letter and for calling attention to the Deane House in Wethersfield, joined together into a single museum with the nearby Webb House, where George Washington met with General Rochambeau to discuss their next move in the Revolution–which turned out to be the final battle of Yorktown. The famous red-flocked wallpaper in the room where Washington slept is still there–or at least a fragment of it. See website: http://webb-deane-stevens.org/
      As to the larger question of the Deane-Lee controversy, please be assured that I am aware of the complexity of the story, and aware as well that Silas Deane, despite the ignominy in which his life ended, was not a black-and-white villain. But a glance at Document 29 on the website you mention will I think only reinforce my contention that Tom Paine, the writer of that document, backed up Arthur Lee’s version of the story, based on knowledge of America’s dealings with the French as reported back to Congress, of whose foreign affairs committee Paine was secretary. And as Paine says in Document 29, the internal evidence of Document 42–Beaumarchais’ letter–makes highly suspect the truth of what the immortal playwright alleges. Remember too that the French government, officially at peace with Britain, was particularly anxious to conceal its aid to an America at war with Britain, so that diplomatic evasion of the truth was the order of the day–including by Beaumarchais, who was then acting as a secret French government agent behind a fictitious front company (as he says in Document 42). And remember that Tom Paine then lost his job for saying something so undiplomatic as . . . the truth.

      • Thanks you for responding. Yes, it is clear that Beaumarchais had been in touch with Arthur Lee in England but Lee did not follow through and the actual negotiation for French aid were between Beaumarchais and Deane. Both men lost money of the goods given by France and spent many years trying to retrieve their funds from Congress. It is well known that Paine was not a fan of Deane’s which led to the dispute in Congress which I believe was and early example of the two party system.
        I was only hoping that Deane’s reputation could be improved and the criticism more tempered. Deane was not a bad man and much of his thoughts and ideas have proved to be correct in American history, such as the need to work well with England, plans for canals and for a navy. He had a very sad end to a life of public service. Jan Peake

        • Please see A. R. Riggs, “The Nine Lives of Arthur Lee” (Williamsburg 1976), which demonstrates that Arthur Lee did indeed complete his deal with Beaumarchais, as Harlow Giles Unger confirms more fully in his biography of Beaumarchais, “Improbable Patriot.” And sadly, we have the damning letter from George III to Lord North authorizing payment to Deane for his “services”–which were to act as a pro-British agent against the colonial “rebels.” Because all this happened under the cloak of secrecy, it’s understandable that scholars can still argue about what really happened almost as passionately as the pro-Deane and pro-Lee factions did in the Continental Congress during the Revolution. But with the passage of time, the facts have emerged. And they give little credit to Silas Deane.
          I am glad that the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, in which I believe you played a key role, is flourishing. It is very important to make our history concrete and tangible–and it’s amazing that Wethersfield, Connecticut, was such an important setting in the Revolution, since Washington met with General Rochambeau there to plan the assault on Yorktown, at least provisionally. I suppose in a sense Wethersfield embodies the Revolution’s debt to France.

  4. Here’s a note of thanks for “Founders.” I rationed my reading of the 402 text pages over many weeks so I could allow the insights and historical detail to sink in, and not rush through to the end, as enjoyable as the reading was. I’m particularly grateful for the introduction to John Jay, for whom I had little appreciation before I read “Founders,” and also for the fair-minded and insightful assessments of Hamilton and Jefferson. Nice going.

  5. Mr. Magnet,

    Throughout my 18 years of studying and teaching history, I have been constantly bombarded with the message that our founding fathers’ were self-centered, greedy, elitists, who crafted only self-serving documents meant to maintain the power of the few at the cost of the many. Beard, Zinn, and others were the bibles of my professors and fellow educators. Yet, the more I read the primary sources, traveled to the major sites of our early history, and fell in love with the colonial to early national period, the more I realized that these men, though imperfect like us all, gave the world such a wonderful legacy through their writings and actions. Thank you for articulating their motives in such a well-crafted book. I hope that many future generations will reach the same conclusions based on the images you have drawn of these men and give thanks for the Founders’ legacy.

    • I am so grateful for your kind words. All one has to do is look around the rest of the world: one has to conclude that the Founding Fathers managed to construct out of the crooked timber of humanity as straight and strong an edifice, allowing the greatest possibilities for the self-development of the individual, that human history can show.

  6. Mr. Magnet……I just finished your book and enjoyed it very much. I am a fanatic for American colonial history. I am also very interested in the homes of the Founders and have visited most of them. It seems that whenever I read a book about one of the Founders I always wish that it told us more about their personal lives and homes and property, etc., and your book does that better than any I’ve read. It really does bring a new level of understanding about how and why the Founders accomplished what they did and in the manner they did and why the American Revolution and Constitution has succeeded whereas most others have failed. Thanks for an excellent work.

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