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Download James Madison Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample James Madison (Unabridged), by Garry Wills
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (241 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Garry Wills Narrator: Ira Claffe Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The eternal conundrum about James Madison - a key framer of the U.S. Constitution, a formidable political figure, and a man of penetrating analytical intellect and tremendous foresight - is why, when he became chief executive, did he steer the ship of state with such an unsteady hand? Why was this man, whose pre-and post-presidential careers contributed so significantly to the future course of American political history, so lackluster and ineffectual in his tenure as president?

In this concise and readable examination of Madison's life and career, Garry Wills outlines the confluence of unfortunate circumstance, misplaced temperament, and outright poor judgment that bogged down Madison's presidency. Though a brilliant theoretician and effective legislator and collaborator, he was not a natural leader of men, and the absence of leadership was keenly felt during wartime. In fact, the War of 1812 was the first foreign war fought under the Constitution, and Madison was forced to adjust many of the assumptions he had made during the drafting of that document. He had to confront hard, practical issues such as public morale, internal security, relations with Congress, and the independence of the military. Though now remembered in part for fleeing the capital as it was under siege, Madison saw his administration come to a close with his popularity on the rise.

Madison's later life, neatly traced by Wills, was also of consequence. For two decades after he left office, he remained tightly bound to the political life of the nation, happily playing the role of popular elder statesman, curiously prefiguring so many of our recent presidents. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alan | 2/5/2014

    " As part of my ongoing project to read a biography of every president I progressed from Jefferson to Madison. Madison quite frankly wasn't our most interesting or effective president. The War of 1812 seemed to be a debacle from the start and the book itself was a little too text-book like. Oh well. On to Monroe! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bob | 1/27/2014

    " Gary Wills knows how to write. In this short biography, he asks a simple question: how did a brilliant theorist and legislator become a lackluster president? The answer lies as much in the roles as in the man and is heavily informed by circumstance. Much to Wills' credit, he also demonstrates that the clarity of the poles he posits are not so clear, after all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Michael Garner | 1/20/2014

    " Short read, read in less then a 24 hour period. I nice introduciton to the 4th president, mainly concentrating on his efforts during the constitution convention and his actions leading up and druing the war or 1812. Very little on his early or late life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by William J. Shep | 10/12/2013

    " A balanced overview of Madison's career, but not Wills' best writing as he displays a certain ambivalence regarding Madison throughout his text. This may be valid but it leaves the reader somewhat unsatisfied in the end. "

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