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Download A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Catherine Allgor
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (176 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Catherine Allgor Narrator: Anne Twomey Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2006 ISBN:
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When the roar of the Revolution had finally died down, a new generation of American politicians was summoned to the Potomac to assemble the nation's newly minted capital. Into that unsteady atmosphere, which would soon enough erupt into another conflict with Britain in 1812, Dolley Madison arrived, alongside her husband, James. Within a few years, she had mastered both the social and political intricacies of the city, and by her death in 1849 was the most celebrated person in Washington. And yet, to most Americans, she's best known for saving a portrait from the burning White House, or as the namesake for a line of ice cream.

Why did her contemporaries give so much adulation to a lady so little known today? In A Perfect Union, Catherine Allgor reveals that while Dolley's gender prevented her from openly playing politics, those very constraints of womanhood allowed her to construct an American democratic ruling style, and to achieve her husband's political goals. And the way that she did so, by emphasizing cooperation over coercion, building bridges instead of bunkers, has left us with not only an important story about our past but a model for a modern form of politics.

Introducing a major new American historian, A Perfect Union is both an illuminating portrait of an unsung founder of our democracy, and a vivid account of a little-explored time in our history.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 2/10/2014

    " As I gather from reading this, Dolley was one of the first American woman celebrities and I think she really deserved it. It sounds to me like she orchestrated a lot of big name political events and changed the atmosphere in Washington forever. I think she suffered a little bit psychologically from putting on the airs of pleasing everyone all the time too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MJ | 2/8/2014

    " Almost more of a "life and times" biography than anything else, this book is a great glimpse into early 19th century American politics and society. Dolley Madison leaps from the page, and this book whetted my appetite for even more discussion. You'll find yourself wanting to know not just more about James Madison and his relationship with his wife, Thomas Jefferson, and other key figures, but about the women in Dolley's life - Margaret Bayard Smith and others. This is the kind of history book that oughta be displayed front-and-center at your local megabookstore, but is probably hidden in the history/biography section in the back. Worth the search, or a quick trip to Amazon! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nel | 2/4/2014

    " Our 10th anniversary as a book club and a pretty good book to celebrate with. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda Cordial | 1/31/2014

    " No a favorite. Kind of a sterile writing style I think. Reading an encyclopedia would have more appeal. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kim | 1/29/2014

    " Although interesting to read about Dolley Madison, the author is rather redundant throughout the book. It was difficult to read because the author doesn't seem to think that the reader will understand her conclusions, therefore she repeats them over and over... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 1/29/2014

    " Very interesting to hear how instrumental Dolly Madison was in creating the role of First Lady. Her social skills were a great asset to her husband, James Madison. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana Whitley | 1/9/2014

    " A good overall history of Dolley Madison's life and impact on the early development of the U.S. Government and society. Very interesting and easy to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joant | 1/9/2014

    " This is much more a biography than " the creation of an American nation". Still, I enjoyed it and gained some insight into Dolley's popularity. She was proud of America, and showed it in all manner of things, including the abundance at her table. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie Lee | 1/4/2014

    " Dry. Not what I was thinking it was. It was more about her latter life, including how she influenced several of James Madison's policies. Ok, very historical. Not what I was looking for. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa Wallerich | 12/28/2013

    " Dolly Madison rules! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dayla | 12/24/2013

    " This book is not to be missed just for the description of what Dolley Madison was doing when the British were on their way to burn down the White House. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debbe | 12/10/2013

    " I was first introduced to Dolley Madison as a childhood when I read her fictionalized bio in the Childhood of Young Americans Series. She was a remarkable First Lady for this country. I enjoyed learning more about her adult life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 10/23/2013

    " I had such a greater respect for all the women of the Revolutionary time period after finishing this book. These brave, intelligent, and faithful women are under-appreciated, I think. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/27/2013

    " I guess it is good if you like history but I just didn't like the way it was written. I feel like the whole book was more about setting the scene for her life and it seemed like some of the stories that could have been written more interestingly were brushed over. I tried but I couldn't finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 WhiteOak Library | 7/26/2013

    " Loved Allgor's ability to present events in American history that shaped the young city of Washington (D.C.). I always thought Dolley was an interesting character, but I often wondered if that was hype or the real Dolley. Now I know that it was the real Dolley./pj "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 6/18/2013

    " I loved this book. I actually listened to it on tape. The greatest thing I learned is the power of a woman in a marriage relationship and how a couple can work together unitedly to accomplish much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 3/21/2013

    " Thoughtful biography of a very impressive woman. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/3/2012

    " This woman MUST have done something more interesting than picking out crimson curtains for the Oval Office and buying fancy dresses and schmoozing politicians. I don't care if it was 1800. I mean really...can you make it any more boring?! Shoot me now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Larson | 2/20/2012

    " Good history about Jefferson and Madison and the War of 1812, and I learned perhaps a bit TOO much about Dolley. It dragged at times... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stacee | 2/13/2012

    " What a fascinating lady! What a hard book to get through. I enjoyed the topic, but not the writing. The author could have condensed the book down a lot and told a better story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/12/2011

    " I didn't really know anything about Dolley Madison, so this was interesting to read. She was a complicated person. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lou | 3/25/2011

    " Written by an academic historian with a style so elegant and readable that it garnered her a $400,000 advance, according to PW. Also recommended: Parlor Politics. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/20/2010

    " This woman MUST have done something more interesting than picking out crimson curtains for the Oval Office and buying fancy dresses and schmoozing politicians. I don't care if it was 1800. I mean really...can you make it any more boring?! Shoot me now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie | 7/27/2010

    " Dry. Not what I was thinking it was. It was more about her latter life, including how she influenced several of James Madison's policies. Ok, very historical. Not what I was looking for. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 6/6/2010

    " Very interesting to hear how instrumental Dolly Madison was in creating the role of First Lady. Her social skills were a great asset to her husband, James Madison. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/31/2010

    " I didn't really know anything about Dolley Madison, so this was interesting to read. She was a complicated person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joant | 10/3/2009

    " This is much more a biography than " the creation of an American nation". Still, I enjoyed it and gained some insight into Dolley's popularity. She was proud of America, and showed it in all manner of things, including the abundance at her table. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 1/29/2009

    " Good history but could have been edited down a few chapters...repetitive analysis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 4/29/2008

    " A good overall history of Dolley Madison's life and impact on the early development of the U.S. Government and society. Very interesting and easy to read. "

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About the Author

Catherine Allgor, a professor of history at the University of California-Riverside, has received the George Washington Egleston Prize, the Lerner-Scott Prize, and the James H. Broussard First Book Prize for Parlor Politics. She was awarded a Bunting Fellowship for her work on Dolley Madison.

About the Narrator

Anne Twomey is an accomplished actress of both stage and screen. Her Broadway credits include Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave, To Grandmother’s House We Go, and Nuts, for which she received a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award. Her many television appearances include guest roles on Seinfeld, Law & Order: SVU, Spin City, and the Christopher Reeves’ movie-of-the-week Rear Window. She has also appeared in the films Picture Perfect and Orpheus Descending.