Cover image for Benjamin Rush : patriot and physician
Benjamin Rush : patriot and physician
Brodsky, Alyn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Truman Talley Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 404 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E302.6.R85 B76 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E302.6.R85 B76 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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The only full biography of Benjamin Rush, an extraordinary Founding Father and America's leading physician of the Colonial era

While Benjamin Rush appears often and meaningfully in biographies about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, this legendary man is presented as little more than a historical footnote. Yet, he was a propelling force in what culminated in the Declaration of Independence, to which he was a cosigner.

Rush was an early agitator for independence, a member of the First Continental Congress, and one of the leading surgeons of the Continental Army during the early phase of the American Revolution. He was an constant and indefatigable adviser to the foremost figures of the American Revolution, notably George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

Even if he had not played a major role in our country's creation, Rush would have left his mark in history as an eminent physician and a foremost social reformer in such areas as medical teaching, treatment of the mentally ill (he is considered the Father of American Psychiatry), international prevention of yellow fever, establishment of public schools, implementation of improved education for women, and much more.

For readers of well-written biographies, Brodsky has illuminated the life of one of America's great and overlooked revolutionaries.

Author Notes

Alyn Brodsky is the author of several biographies, including The Great Mayor and Grover Cleveland , and was also the Editorial Director of two multi-volume encyclopedias, one on American history, the other on the Bible. He has lectured on history and classical music, served as a combat correspondent and feature writer for Pacific Stars & Stripes , and has been a book critic and columnist for a number of U.S. newspapers. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida where he is at work on his next book.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

If Benjamin Rush isn't a household word, that isn't for lack of a written record. According to Brodsky, Rush wrote no fewer than 2,000 pages of published letters and essays, and hundreds of unpublished pieces are scattered worldwide in public and private collections. Why isn't he as famous as his fellow Declaration of Independence signers? Perhaps because every time he could have endeared himself to those who might perpetuate his name, he seemed to irritate them. Years before it was fashionable, Rush vociferously condemned slavery and held progressive ideas about public education, educating women, religion, and independence. As a physician and teacher, he eschewed popular medical theories about treatment of the mentally ill, physiology, and the origin and treatment of physiological disease, alienating many powerful and prominent people who clung to archaic notions. Furthermore, because he lacked the social connections necessary to establish a more prosperous clientele, his medical practice focused on the poor. Brodsky draws heavily from Rush's massive self-documentation to paint a compelling portrait of this medical and social activist. --Donna Chavez Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Born in 1746 in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Rush became friends with Benjamin Franklin when Rush was studying for his medical degree in Scotland and Franklin was a representative to England. Armed with letters of introduction from Franklin, Rush met with many of the leading political and medical figures in Britain and France before returning in 1769 to Philadelphia, where he established a thriving medical practice. But Rush was just as interested in the colonies' budding independence movement as he was with medicine, and that interest led him to write an essay that, according to Brodsky (The Great Mayor), helped to instigate the Boston Tea Party. Rush is also credited with encouraging Thomas Paine to write Common Sense. During the first Continental Congress, Rush entertained many of America's Founding Fathers, became especially close to John Adams and was a co-signer of the Declaration of Independence. After the war, Rush devoted himself to his medical practice, where he trained many of America's leading doctors and also explored new paths in mental health. One reason for Rush being so little known is that he ran afoul of George Washington as a participant in the failed Conway Cabal, which sought to oust Washington as commander in chief in 1777. Brodsky's sympathetic biography interweaves Rush's observations and experiences with the momentous events that led to the founding of the nation. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved