James Madison

James Madison

Book - 2002
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A bestselling historian examines the life of a Founding Father.

Renowned historian and social commentator Garry Wills takes a fresh look at the life of James Madison, from his rise to prominence in the colonies through his role in the creation of the Articles of Confederation and the first Constitutional Congress.

Madison oversaw the first foreign war under the constitution, and was forced to adjust some expectations he had formed while drafting that document. Not temperamentally suited to be a wartime President, Madison nonetheless confronted issues such as public morale, internal security, relations with Congress, and the independence of the military. Wills traces Madison's later life during which, like many recent Presidents, he enjoyed greater popularity than while in office.

Publisher: New York : Times Books, 2002
Characteristics: xx, 184 p. ; 22 cm
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0805069054 (hb)


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phlophouse Nov 27, 2012

Garry Wills proposes that James Madison’s talents and characteristics that made him a good legislator was what made him a nondescript President. This argument is not really pushed in the book; but instead is more of a pretense, so Wills can write a character analysis of our fourth president. Fortunately, Wills is not only successful in this; but also, inspires further interest in James Madison.

Personally, I like this book. It a quick and easy read for anyone just beginning to read about this particular founding father. Wills does not go into great detail or focus on Madison’s whole life; instead he creates a good impression of who his man was during his Presidency. Anyone who is already well read on American History or looking for controversy will not find this book satisfying. However, those who are interested in the “little golden book” of James Madison, they have found it.


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