The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President

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James Madison is mostly remembered as being president during the War of 1812, in which the British burned the White House. Yet most people do not get a full picture of Mr. Madison. This new biography by Professor Noah Feldman hopes to rectify that. This biography might seem a bit dense for the average reader. He spends a lot of time analyzing decisions that Mr. Madison made and the writings that he wrote, especially around the ratification of the Constitution. And that’s great for scholars, and especially college students, who I feel are the real audience for this monograph. But Mr. Feldman gives us an in-depth portrait of James Madison, mostly focusing on his career after the Revolutionary War started. What really makes this stand out–and is something you notice in academic journals, especially in law journals–is that each chapter has a short argument that summarizes the chapter. This addition, something you do not see in history books, is a welcome one as it allows a researcher, or a student, looking for specific information on a particular part of Mr. Madison’s life to find what they are looking for without having to read the entire book.

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Noah Feldman
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 800 pages
Publisher Random House
Publish Date 2017-Oct-31
ISBN 9780812992755
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2018
Category History
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