The narrative of America’s founding is filled with stories of godlike geniuses–Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson–versus the villainous Aaron Burr. Generations have been told that Burr was a betrayer–of Alexander Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. But that version has been shaped by historians and writers from the eighteenth century on, who were blinded by tabloid reports and propaganda created by Burr’s political enemies during his lifetime. It is time to discover the real Aaron Burr.

The man whom we meet through Nancy Isenberg’s eye-opening, painstakingly researched biography was a brave participant in the Revolutionary War, a hero who inspired loyalty in his troops and admiration from his fellow officers. He was an inspired politician, statesman, and legislator who promoted decency instead of the factionalism that threatened the solidity of the young nation. He was a brilliant orator and lawyer who served as New York’s attorney general and senator, before his election as vice president.

Burr was, in short, a loyal citizen who had the bad fortune to make a powerful enemy early in his career. And the fate of his reputation was sealed when Burr’s own papers were lost at sea. A brilliant restoration of a figure who ran afoul of history, FALLEN FOUNDER is both a much needed antidote to the worshipful biographies of the revolutionary era and a stunningly modern story.