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Madison and Jefferson Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The book examines the friendship and relationship between the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743 -- 1826) and the fourth president, James Madison (1751 -- 1836) during the course of over 50 years. The book has a number of aims which, in addition to its length and the complexity of its subject give it a polemical, disjointed character in places.Read more ›
The book is entitled "Madison and Jefferson" specifically because it is an attempt to restore Madison to his rightful place in history. Although the more outgoing Jefferson is far better known to most people, the authors feel that the more low-key Madison was equally as influential to our history.
The book tells the story of the political relationship, as well as the friendship between our 3rd and 4th Presidents. It does a good job of delving into their different personalities, and showing the men behind the people we now see as almost deities. You learn that these men who did so much toward establishing the country we live in (with The Constitution, the Federalist Papers, etc.), were also very human, with frailties, weaknesses, greed and thirst for power. It does much of the same for George Washington, and other early founders of these United States.
I was afraid that I would find this a boring history book, but I didn't. The book merges history with biography nicely, and while I did learn quite a bit, it was engrossing as well. I learned how important the State of Virginia (where both men were from), was to these men, as well as to the decisions that were made by these early Politicians.
I found it interesting, and somewhat reassuring that the game of Politics really hasn't changed as much as most of us think it has, and that these men that we admire so much were still Politicians as much as they were human beings.
I would recommend this book to anyone - whether you are a history novice like I am, or a history buff - there is a LOT of information in this book, and it is presented in a style of writing that can be enjoyed by anyone.
However, that's all it does. Everything else takes a back seat. If you are looking for an analysis of their presidencies, their interactions with others, the history of the times they lived in and through, you will not find it here. And that is very disappointing. This is a 650-page treatise, and these things - their administrations, their successes, failures, the history of the times - are merely window dressing for exploring the relationship between these two. Yes, that is what the authors set out to do, and yes, they accomplished that. But with 650 pages to play with, they could have and should have given us a whole lot more. In this they fail miserably.
Even reading the book is a hardship. What these authors commonly do throughout the book is present a conclusion as if it had been discussed in detail when starting a new subject. Frequently, I would reread a passage, thinking to myself, "Did I skip over the part where they discussed this?", only to find that I hadn't, and that the discussion of the conclusion was just ahead. This is poor writing.
The constant, and I mean constant, quoting from their correspondence is also very tiring. The authors glory in their ability to use quotes, as if to say, "Look at all the firsthand research we've done!" Summaries and analysis from others is useful as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great collection of historical archives and perspective of the early founding of our country and the Virginia domination of the early years. Read morePublished 7 days ago by John H. Warren
As a colonial history "geek" this book is not only well written but reveals insights never before seen in books on Madison or Jefferson. A must read.
Dr. Ros Dickison
Great for history lovers. I don't read much non fiction but enjoyed this book. Great to learn about our forefathers and where we come from. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Maun Flanagan
If someone asked me whether or not I would recommend the book Madison and Jefferson, I would first have to take a measure of who was asking the question. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Daniel J. dundon
insightful, detailed and very good reading for lovers of the revolutionary periodPublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
American history classes have prepared us for multiple views of Jefferson, but this book lets us see Madison as a person much more than anything I've ever read before.Published 10 months ago by Gym rat