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James and Dolley Madison: America's First Power Couple
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James and Dolley Madison: America's First Power Couple

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  43 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This revealing new portrait of James and Dolley Madison introduces the reader to America’s first power couple. Using recently uncovered troves of letters at the University of Virginia, among other sources, historian Bruce Chadwickhas been able to reconstruct the details of the Madisons’ personal and political lives.

Chadwick argues that Madison was not a boring, average pr
Hardcover, 450 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mar 10, 2014 Eliz rated it did not like it
If you knew nothing about this couple, reading this book would lead you to believe all they ever did, achieved or were about is partying. If that is the point, this deserved a short essay not 300 plus pages. Not only was it repetitive but the same quotes were even repeated as if the author forgot he already used them. Odd bits are dropped in like afterthoughts. How you can write a book about the man who wrote the constitution and make it seem like a small bit he did while young amazes me. Nothin ...more
May 17, 2014 Jeri rated it it was ok
Interesting enough, but the writing style seemed a bit amateurish for such an accomplished biographer. Weak, repetitive analysis, and confusing to follow at points. At one point, someone died, and two pages later Chadwick was talking about him as if he were still alive.
Linda Mcritchie
May 21, 2014 Linda Mcritchie rated it liked it
Repetitive at times and nothing about his early life with 11 brothers and sisters. You won't get to know the real James Madison from this book.
Jul 15, 2014 Heidi rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, biography
I don't think this manuscript was ever seen by an editor or proofreader. The author repeats himself frequently, needs to review comma usage, and it is full of what I hope are typographical errors. I did learn some interesting information about the Madisons, but the length of the book could probably be cut in half. The author also insists on injecting his personal opinions, and he makes a lot of assumptions. For instance, regarding a letter that Dolley wrote to her son, Payne: "Payne's reaction? ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
An entertaining, gossipy read by prolific author and professor Bruce Chadwick. The author has an obvious admiration for his subjects, but also discusses some of their human shortcomings, such as their ownership of slaves. Gives a good account of how Dolley shaped the role of "First Lady" and her husband the role of "Commander in Chief." War (although these terms were not used until later). The text has some editorial issues -- might have benefited from a red pencil in some spots. I wouldn't go o ...more
Apr 03, 2014 Pmacke rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
found myself saying "who knew?" throughout the entire read; madison was a stud: though sickly he persevered into his 8os, he wrote the constitution, he road at the head of the army in the war of 1812, he was an enlightened statesman and farmer and perhaps the most underrated founding father ... dolly was a wonder, a brilliant woman who is a true patriot, plus she was at the forefront of showing off cleavage ... if you aren't a goodreads snob, you could learn a lot from this book; it's a worthwhi ...more
Pvt. Ambrose
May 16, 2015 Pvt. Ambrose rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I found that every complaint about Chadwick's lack of literary grace turned out to be true upon cantering through this book; with dense composition on every page and repetitive analyses from time to time, it often felt as though the author wanted to bolster the wealth of information between James and Dolley Madison by inserting filler to increase the page count. Either the editor was in a hurry or dead, because the entire novel was laced with intermittent grammatical and spelling errors (how man ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Ann rated it it was ok
This book could be better, but the most irritating thing is the amount of errors in this book. My favorite comes from page 254.

"Clay and Dolley, both rambunctious pubic personalities, were united by more than snuff boxes."

Other than the large number of errors, Dolley seemed like a character!
Feb 23, 2016 Donna added it
Fascinating look and the power of the First Lady
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