A Fresh Look at the Founding Fathers

It must be thrilling for a nonfiction author to see his book highlighted in the respected periodical Kirkus Reviews, especially when the critic enthuses, “[This is] groundbreaking history not to be missed—a book to quote and to keep, as the material is rich enough to merit re-reading.”

That’s exactly the situation for David Lefer, the author of the newly released volume The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution. Lefer, Director of the Innovation and Technology Forum and an industry professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), is thrilled, but he has had little time to bask in the praise: in the week preceding the book’s release, he was scheduled to do numerous media interviews, including a sit-down with conservative pundit Lou Dobbs.

Lefer asserts the American Revolution was nearly derailed by extremists who wanted to too much, too quickly and who refused to rest until they had remade American society. The Founding Conservatives tells the story of the small circle of patriots who kept that radicalism in check and promoted capitalism, a strong military, and the preservation of tradition.

Among the figures he covers are John Dickinson, who joined George Washington’s troops in a battle against the British on July 4, 1776, and that same week drafted the Articles of Confederation; James Wilson, a staunch free-market capitalist who defended his home against a mob of radicals demanding price controls; and Robert Morris, a financier who founded the first bank and the first modern multinational corporation in the United States.

Lefer, who also co-wrote, They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Centuries of Innovators (2004), has been a favorite among NYU-Poly freshmen, who are required to take his innovation-and-technology course. We predict he’ll be just as popular in bookstores.

Chatting with the Author: David Lefer