To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
James Madison: A Biography Paperback – March 29, 1990
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"Madison's personality comes alive in these pages, his strengths and weaknesses of mind and character clearly outlined. His great services in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 are graphically portrayed. The analysis of his political theory, and of the way in which he sought to apply it to the establishment of of government under the Constitution, is excellent. The depiction of Jeffersonian and Madisonian foreign policy up to the outbreak of the War of 1812 is clear and succinct. This is an excellent biography.(American Historical Review)
Utilizing the vast amount of source material made available in the last 30 years, Ketcham has captured the essential man in his times and in doing so has made him understandable for us in our own day.(Los Angeles Times)
This single volume has provided a penetrating and highly readable biography which merits distinction as the best one-volume life of Madison yet written.(Virginia Magazine of History and Biography)
Ketcham's long-standing familiarity with Madison's life and times is evident in this accessible work...Ketcham has written an enjoyable and scholarly narrative that will no doubt be considered of great value to Montpelier's more serious visitors, as well as students, scholars, and general readers with an interest in the founding couple.(Kellie Strickland, North Carolina State University North Carolina Historical Review)
About the Author
Ralph Ketcham is Professor of American Studies, Political Science, and Public Affairs, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. His most recent publications are Presidents above Party: The First American Presidency, 1789-1829 and Individualism and Public Life: An American Dilemma.
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
Yes, I happen to work at Montpelier, Mr. Madison's life-long home and the home that he and his wife Dolley shared during their marriage - and I can promise you that Dr. Ketcham's well-worn, tabbed (it looks like a porcupine) book is our 'bible' when it comes to James Madison.
There are other, quite good, books about Madison but this is the one for a thorough overview, from birth to death.
This is a trustworthy, sober and lengthy treatment of Madison, written by a man who knows his subject intimately. The reader can trust the facts between the covers, but there is an integral element missing: Madison himself. There are innumerable anecdotes and descriptions of Madison, but it's buried within the minutiae and sheer length of this very heavy tome. I never got a sense of Madison as a human being, only as a political or revolutionary shadow.
Recommended only for those either obsessed with Madison or tolerant of a chilly and plodding read.
I have a couple of minor gripes, though. the first is Ketcham's glaring omission of the rest of Dolley Madison's life. What happened to her after James Madison died? Apparently she edited many of the great man's papers, had to sell many of his letters at less than market price (suggesting financial woes?) - but that's all Ketcham gives us. That's a little frustrating.
Being a law student, I would have liked to see more comment on what Madison thought of the "Marshall Court's" rulings. There is a brief note on McCulloch v Maryland, but nothing on Marbury v Madison! What did Madison think of the idea of judicial review?
These are but minor gripes. But one substantial complaint I do have with Ketcham's biography is the way he always emphasises the consistency of Madison's republican principles. He makes good points on this throughout the biography, but sometimes what Ketcham sees as a principled stand on republican principles, I would see as indecision. And it makes Madison seem a bit single-minded.
All in all, a wonderful bio, though.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Biography is my favorite genre, and this one does not disappoint. Having recently read Chernow's biography of Hamilton, this biography was a nice complement to the discussion of... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Gerald B. Leedom
Mr. Ketcham did a marveous job in researching and writing this very think book. Who could not be impressed! Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Seemingly thorough bio of one of our great founding fathers. Although Virginia born, sadly I knew little about Madison. Read morePublished 13 months ago by C. T. Randall
Very satisfying, well-documented and thorough coverage of Madison throughout all phases of his life and career.Published 13 months ago by Lombard P.