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Joseph J. Ellis is one of the nation's leading scholars of American history. The author of nine books, Ellis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award for American Sphinx, a biography of Thomas Jefferson. His in-depth chronicle of the life of our first President, His Excellency: George Washington, was a New York Times bestseller.

Ellis’ newest book, American Dialogue, will be released in Fall 2018.  In this book, Ellis once again looks back to the American founding.  In the same way the founders went back to the Roman classics like Thucydides and Tacitus for wisdom, Ellis goes back to America’s classic era for wisdom from Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Washington.  What did the words “the pursuit of happiness” and “we the people” mean then, and what do they mean now?  How can the Founders help us frame the arguments we need to have about race, economic inequality, jurisprudence, and foreign policy?  As the title suggests, and the Founders knew, argument itself is the answer.

Ellis' essays and book reviews appear regularly in national publications, such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. Ellis’s commentaries have been featured on CBS, CSPAN, CNN, and the PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and he has appeared in several PBS documentaries on early America, including “John and Abigail [Adams]” for PBS’s The American Experience and a History Channel documentary on George Washington

Ellis has taught in the Leadership Studies program at Williams College. He previously taught at the Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He lives in Amherst, MA with his wife, Ellen Wilkins Ellis and two dogs. He is the father of three sons.


“Joseph J. Ellis has emerged as an eloquent champion and brilliant practitioner

of the old-fashioned

art of biography.”

Forrest McDonald

The New York Times Book Review