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

Extended Audio Sample A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation Audiobook, by Catherine Allgor
3.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 5 3.42 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Catherine Allgor Narrator: Anne Twomey Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged 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.

Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 2/16/2014

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dayla | 2/15/2014

    " 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 Dave Larson | 2/11/2014

    " 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 Jennifer | 2/2/2014

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shenek | 1/29/2014

    " Excellent book that puts Dolley Madison in an attractive yet realistic light. Fascinating to learn how she helped to shape the role of first lady. Made me realize the necessity of excellent hosting skills (listening, putting people at ease, engaging others in conversation). Fascinating to read during the presidential election. It's nice to know that whether it's the presidential race for the fourth or the forty-fourth president things can get ugly. And an interesting piece of trivia... the pearl is the necklace for the American political woman, diamonds are too aristocratic. (How did Michelle Obama know this?) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/18/2014

    " 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 Dana Whitley | 12/30/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 12/28/2013

    " Thoughtful biography of a very impressive woman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 12/22/2013

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nel | 12/11/2013

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

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

    " Dolly Madison rules! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/17/2013

    " 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 Natasha | 5/11/2013

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 WhiteOak Library | 2/21/2013

    " 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 | 12/19/2011

    " 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stacee | 9/24/2011

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie Lee | 9/23/2011

    " 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 Joant | 5/24/2011

    " 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 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.