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Tempest at Dawn

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  621 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
The United States is on the brink of total collapse. The military has been reduced to near extinction, economic turmoil saps hope, and anarchy threatens as world powers hover like vultures, eager to devour the remains. In a desperate move, a few powerful men call a secret meeting to plot the overthrow of the government. Fifty-five men came to Philadelphia in May of 1787 wi ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 15th 2010 by Wheatmark (first published October 6th 2009)
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Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I must admit I didn't finish this. Basically this is a reconstruction of the Constitutional Convention in novel form, with some dialogue and narrative added- Adams & Franklin chatting about the food or the accommodations, stuff like that. Decently enough written but ultimately this bored me- in part because the ending is no surprise- they ratify the Constitution.
Kent Stuver
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: students and others interested in the U.S. Constitution
Tempest at Dawn was an intriguing treatment of a subject that has interested me for some time. Students do not always get taught about the chaos and disruption that existed during the years immediately following the American Revolution, under the Articles of Confederation. Nor is there a general understanding of the different competing interests that each State brought to the Constitutional Convention.

James Best has added color and intrigue to his depiction of the creation of one of the most inf
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book! It was so meaty that it took me a month to read. Based on his historical research, James Best wrote this novel about the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as told by an aging James Madison to an abolitionist writer. Once Madison begins his story, we're taken back to 1787. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of either James Madison, delegate from Virginia, or Roger Sherman, delegate from Connecticut. Because of the anti-slavery viewpoint of the interviewer, th ...more
Michael Newton
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to James Best's masterpiece, Tempest at Dawn, I felt like the 56th delegate at the Constitutional Convention. Using vivid narrative and expressive dialogue, Tempest at Dawn presents all the major issues the Founding Fathers struggled with. More impressive, you get to know the character of the men who created our great nation.

Tempest at Dawn is based primarily on Madison’s notes to the Convention. Mr. Best adds to the story events that happened outside of the State House. It is a true cred
Sandra Sue
This was a wonderful book. It puts history in an interesting and easy to read format.
Jim Pryde
I did not actually finish this one. It was alright, but turned out to just not be my cup of tea. While the subject matter was interesting, it didn't hold my attention enough to complete it. I may pick it up again, but for now, it needs to come off the "reading" shelf.
Ed Fultz
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know this was historical fiction and took liberties but what a great read this was. Could not put it down.
Jeff Benham
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! If you like Early American history mied with some really good story telling, this id the book for you! It depicts and humanizes our forefathers during the critical time of the Articles of Confederation. Magnificent!
Martin Whatwouldthefoundersthink
This was a great book for folks interested in the constitutional convention. I was surprised at the fact that the book got progressively better and better as you traverse through. I found myself grinning and gripped with emotion at some of the scenes - especially the signing ceremony. The book gave me a huge appreciation for Madison and Sherman. The vignettes were terrific and added color to the story which, despite the author's protestations to the contrary, was pretty accurate historically fro ...more
Chad Manske
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A tremendous and 95%+ accurate historical fiction representation of the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. There, in the State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed 11 years earlier, Congress commissioned a federal commission comprised of delegates from 12 states to amend the articles of confederation. The result was the U.S. Constitution and the implementing and revised Articles. James Best brings to life the drama behind the summer convention in rich detail, filling in gaps only ...more
Stephan Politzer
The triumph of Federalism

This historical novel gives a rare insight to the process of the framing of the Constitution. It gives a very human, not overly idealized portrayal of the Founders. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys good historical fiction.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Very well written. Felt like I was reading a novel although it was non-fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jan 19, 2012 marked it as tbr-2013
Shelves: american-hf, free, kindle
Free 1.19.12 on Kindle. This could be really interesting. The reviews say it is a HF about the making of the U.S. constitution. I am in.
Naomi Blackburn
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was great. I love books, fiction and non-fiction, regarding the founding of our country. I had heard fantastic things about this book and it didn't disappoint!
Scot Kinnaman
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fictional account of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 told through the eyes of it's architect, James Madison. Compelling reading.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of the Founding Fathers or an American history lover, you'll enjoy this book. If you are a reluctant history student, this may be the book that hooks you. This novelization of the Constitutional Convention breathes life into those who are often viewed as just old names and pictures in a history book. This time in history is often only briefly studied because of the logic and debate. This book will help you gain a greater understanding of what those men went through to craft our ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The dawn of our republic

The book starts out slowly and takes awhile to get into. However, it is worth the effort, giving a fictionalization of the crafting of the U. S. Constitution. The author brings to life the diverse group of mortal men who through political machinations, debates, cleverness, guile, and, most importantly, intelligence and deep thought came together to create this living document unlike any in the world then and now. Anyone who takes this country for granted should read TEMPE
Bonnie Hayes
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tempest at Dawn is a fascinating historical book which tells the rocky history of the United States from 1776 to 1789 when Washington was elected as our first president. The book gets a little detailed at times but I for one am happy that some saw the need for change and compromised in writing our Constitution.
M. P.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Provides insight into the needs for and necessities of the Constitutional Convention.

It is a solid attempt at humanizing a seemingly Olympian occurrence in American history. Recommended to every citizen of this amazing country.
Russ Deniston
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, very readable history

This book brings alive the most important creation that resulted in the continuation of our young country, our Constitution, and does so in page-turner fashion. History can be boring, and this simply isn't!
João Sousa
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
as a foreigner it was interesting to read about this part of history of the US which is not told very often but it was a little bit boring at times
Elliott Klepner
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Did you ever wonder how the constitution was written or why we have a electoral college? Read this book to get the answers. Worth all the time I spent reading it.
Beth McGee
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! History became real life in this story about the development of our constitution.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sandy by: Diane L
Interesting story of what is now known as the Constitutional Convention. Fifty-five men met in Philadelphia with a congressional charter to revise the Articles of Confederation in May of 1787.They were there for 4 months debating what needed be done and how it should be accomplished. What impressed me about this was the effort and time and negotiations and debate and intrigue that were involved in this rather lengthy process. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we beli ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
May 30, 2013
A Review by Anthony T. Riggio of the book Tempest At Dawn by James Best

I love History and this history book, albeit. a novel is something that should be read by all students of American History and by students of the United States Constitution.. James Best, took the story of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and wove a dialog between the main characters of this convention and made a most entertaining presentation of the struggles to give this country birth. It is
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Historical novels can sometimes be interesting. Obviously the author can have the freedom to play a bit with the facts for the sake of dramatic license. Sometimes, if the author has done a good job with his/her research they can actually make the event come more alive to the reader.

It takes a particular kind of author to take a well documented historical event--like the writing and ratifying of the Constitution of the United States--and make it a refreshing read.

The pluses are that the author
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
In middle school we learned about the signing of the Constitution, each student being assigned a particular founding father and doing a report on him. I got Roger Sherman, the originator of the Connecticut Compromise that got the big states and the small states to sign in unanimity; a statement Washington believed was vitally important for the country. Well it just so happens Mr. Sherman is a featured character in this dramatization of the constitutional convention (then known as the federal con ...more
Paul Garrett
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A most timely read, as tea partyists loudly insist that they alone preserve the letter of the U.S. Constitution and certain politicians and talk show hosts make crazy claims about what that document actually says and what the deified Founding Fathers intended. It might be far-fetched to think that rabid partisans would take time actually to study the period, but for those willing to put in a bit of time, James D. Best brings the Convention of 1787 to life. A postscript discusses the advantages a ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book but it's probably an acquired taste.

It is a fictional account of the constitutional convention held in 1787. After the Revolutionary War ended(1781, with the Treaty of Paris signed in 1783), the country was a federation of the 13 original colonies looslely bound by the Articles of Confederation. Each state had its own form of government; there was no executive, legislative or judicial branches at the federal level. The country as a whole could not raise taxes, negoiat
Rebecca Graf
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Too often history gets put on a pedestal and turned into fantasy so we can keep it strong and have no doubts of what had occurred. We even create myths of what occurred. The truth is much more frightful.

This is a step back in time to see the creation of the United States Constitution. We think the men came together and were so agreeable in getting it done, but the truth is that the young nation might have found an early death during that time as the men fought for their believes. It also shows t
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James Best is the author of the bestselling Steve Dancy Tales: The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Murder at Thumb Butte, The Return, Jenny's Revenge, and Crossing the Animas. His other novels include Tempest at Dawn, The Shut Mouth Society, and Deluge. Principled Action and The Digital Organization are his nonfiction books. James has ghost written three books, authored two regular magazine columns, and pu ...more
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“We must endure the ignorant to protect the liberty of the majority.” 4 likes
“Republican theory clearly stated that the people held all political power, and only they could delegate authority to a government. The people were free to change governments at will. They didn't need permission from incumbents.” 2 likes
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