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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3 reviews
on May 23, 2014
Before reading this biography I had only the sketchiest impression of Randolph, and most of that involved his uncommonly bizarre personality and the fact he was considered an obstructionist's obstructionist during the buildup to the Civil War. While this easily-read book has no intentions of dispelling, and does not dispel, those broad-brush images, it states a compelling case for looking beyond the caricature. He was the apostle of severely limited government and formed and held those beliefs with the utmost honesty, unlike most who would carry that same banner today. While hardly the most organized thinker, he barbecued his enemies with torrents of great eloquence and required no preparation time or speechwriters for doing so. Randolph's extreme positions on state sovereignty may forever tar him as the poster child for the Virginia slaveholding aristocracy, but the author, while admitting he brought some of this criticism on himself, also believes and well argues that Randolph (who hated the institution even as he owned slaves, and prayed for its demise, and I believe would have worked for that but for alienating most of that class) would have taken the same stance regardless what part of the country he represented. As for Randolph's twisted personal life and unusual medical condition, the author suggests a valid and very plausible reason for that, using the information to flesh out the character and not as a caricature. There is a good deal of this biography that is quite moving, not to mention informative - and, yes, entertaining. And all of Randolph's famous quips are here, and placed in context. Highest praise.
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on March 14, 2017
Great book. Easy read. Never want to put the book down.
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on June 15, 2012
Author David Johnson has penned a sound and significant biography in "John Randolph of Roanoke", drawing parallels from Randolph's life to modern politics in the United States. A great work!John Randolph of Roanoke (Southern Biography Series)
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