Neither as literary as Josiah Bunting III's Ulysses S. Grant
(2004) nor as utterly revelatory as Charles W. Calhoun's Benjamin Harrison
(2005), Hart's presentation of the first genuinely forgotten president is just as absorbingly eye-opening. Now known only for the "doctrine" bearing his name, Monroe (1758-1831) was a career soldier, diplomat, and politician. A Jefferson-Madison protege, he differed with them on two crucial matters: a standing military and a national bank. He shared their enthusiasm for westward expansion but realized that a permanent military was needed to defend development against major imperial powers, and he eventually budgeted to build it. To prevent government bankruptcy from real crises, such as the War of 1812 (in which he participated in the battle for Baltimore), he advocated a national bank. So doing, he increased central government authority and in the Monroe Doctrine flexed its muscles. Moreover, although he was a southerner, he signed the Missouri Compromise that staved off secession for 40 years. He was arguably a greater president than either of his mentors. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Gary Hart represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1975 to 1987. He is the author of fourteen books, and has taught at Yale, the University of California, and Oxford University, where he earned a doctor of philosophy degree in politics. He was co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
and is currently senior counsel to the multinational law firm Coudert Brothers. He resides with his family in Kittredge, Colorado.