Steve's Reviews > James Madison

James Madison by Garry Wills
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's review
Apr 11, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: biography, history, non-fiction

This biography, James Madison, wasn't quite what I was expecting. It focuses primarily on Madison's time as president, while I was hoping for more coverage on the other accomplishments he achieved during his life.

It was very interesting to learn that Madison, despite not accomplishing any of the goals he set forth at the beginning of the War of 1812, was able to bring the country together by basically abandoning his Republican principles during the war. It sounds like Madison was wildly popular at the end of his second term due to the perceived success against Britain. The author, Garry Wills, does seem incredibly negative towards Madison at times, but he does emphasize the great job Madison did in terms of upholding the Constitution while the country was at war (with a couple minor exceptions when Madison stretched his power a bit).

Overall, I did learn a lot about Madison's presidency and specifically the War of 1812, but I was hoping for more. Perhaps I could have done a bit more research and made a better effort to tackle a biography that fit my expectations.

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Reading Progress

April 11, 2012 – Started Reading
April 11, 2012 – Shelved
April 11, 2012 – Shelved as: biography
April 11, 2012 – Shelved as: history
April 11, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction
April 12, 2012 –
page 35
16.83% "Really dry material so far."
April 13, 2012 –
page 80
April 18, 2012 –
page 125
April 19, 2012 –
page 208
April 19, 2012 – Finished Reading

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