I am not a history fan, but an earlier published review drew me to this book and I asked to review it for myself. I am glad that I asked and that my request was granted.
Dr. Benjamin Rush was the only medical school trained physician to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was not among the top tier of the founding fathers - but he did much to support and encourage the Washingtons, the Franklins, the Adams, and the others that led the new United States of America during its formative years. For many he was their doctor, for most he was their confident and friend.
Rush follows the life of Benjamin Rush, MD, from his birth in rural Pennsylvania in 1745 to his death in Philadelphia in 1813. He was educated and opinionated. He was a frequent writer - both of published works and many (still) unpublished pieces that have assisted historians to understand the years preceding and following the revolutionary war. Fried has done a superb job of drawing the reader into Rush’s life - as he looks at his family, colleagues, and work. The book concludes with an examination of the influence Rush had on fields as diverse as politics, education, medicine (particularly mental health), and literature. This includes a brief reference to the creation of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago named after Dr. Benjamin Rush.
Reading much like a well-written novel, anyone with an interest in early American History, Medicine. Religion (Rush might be thought of as an original Evangelical), Education, and politics, will find this book to be a delight. Even though it is longer than most books I review (I even took a few days break to read a more typical book to change my pace), it was well worth my time. It is well documented (the last 1/5th of the book consists of notes and references) and might drive some readers to dive further into the history and impact of this man who touched so many of the founding father’s lives in the late 18th and early 19th century.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.