How America’s Obsessives Built a Nation

Some of the country’s greatest thinkers had obsessive natures, and many of their greatest achievements—from the Declaration of Independence to the invention of the iPhone—have roots in the disappointments and frustrations of early childhood. Joshua Kendall looks at the arc of American history through the lens of compulsive behavior. In his book the America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy that Built a Nation he presents portraits of American icons such as Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson, condiment kingpin H. J. Heinz, slugger Ted Williams, and Estee Lauder, and looks at how they shaped our culture and country.