NYT memorializes Thomas Fleming, historian of the RevolutionHistorians in the News
tags: Thomas Fleming, obituary
Thomas Fleming, a prolific historian with a zealous interest in America’s founding fathers and a historical novelist whose plots included a British conspiracy to kidnap George Washington, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 90.
His death was confirmed by his son Thomas Jr.
Mr. Fleming, the loquacious son of a tough New Jersey pol, viewed America’s struggle for independence as essential to understanding the history that followed. “So much of what happened later is virtually anchored in the Revolution,” he told the Journal of the American Revolution in 2013. “The whole Civil War pivots on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”
He added: “Even Woodrow Wilson’s wild claim that we were in World War I to make the world safe for democracy goes back to the sense that we were launching a revolution that would change the world. And it has!”
Mr. Fleming wrote biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He chronicled the battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington and Concord and a lesser-known one in Springfield, N.J., in 1780. He wrote about the seminal year 1776. And he looked back at the duel in 1804 between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
In her review of “Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America” (1999), Katharine Whittemore wrote in Salon that Mr. Fleming had created a “stunning panorama of the fledgling nation” and “a parable of titanic intellect and potential subverted by ambition; of vindictiveness, venality, lust, chimerical visions of empire and, finally, murder.” ...
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