From Library Journal
To the rather large body of excellent biographical and historical literature about James Madison and his impact in shaping what historians refer to as "the New Republic" may now be added Banning's (Jefferson and Madison, LJ 2/1/95) excellent study of the nation's fourth president. The focus of the current work is the keenness and constancy of Madison's intellect and the extent to which those qualities affected the eventual foundational documents of the United States. It is well researched and eloquently rendered; the main drawback is the lack of a formal bibliography, although this shortcoming is partially rectified by a detailed chapter of bibliographical references. Though it does not replace existing titles in Madisonian studies, Banning's work is an essential addition to the scholarship on the New Republic. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.William Emory Buchanan, Clarion Univ., Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"Brilliant and original. . . . The Sacred Fire of Liberty is a challenging book, bristling with ideas and filled with fine shades of emphasis and meaning. Yet there is . . . no jargon or academic obfuscation, and the attentive reader should have no trouble following the argument."—Evan Cornog, New York Times Book Review
"No one who has followed Banning's account of Madison's development . . . will read The Federalist or plot the trajectory of his career in quite the same way again. This is no small achievement."—Edmund S. Morgan, The New Republic
"Well researched and eloquently rendered. . . . An essential addition to the scholarship on the New Republic."—Library Journal
"The Sacred Fire of Liberty is a work of tremendous erudition; an intellectual biography of James Madison that changes and enriches our understanding of the man, his thought, and the part he played in the Founding. . . . It is safe to say that any future study of Madison will begin with this insightful and well-argued reinterpretation."—Virginia Quarterly Review
"This is quite possibly the best political biography of Madison you will every see, and a wonderful analysis of Madison as both framer and one of the authors of The Federalist."—Byte
"Banning's treatment of James Madison is original and brilliant. His book is a landmark to the scholarship of the American republic and to an essential Founder. The Sacred Fire of Liberty will remain the authority on Madison for years to come."—Rob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger