Summary and Info
ReviewJoseph J. Ellis, author of *First Family: Abigail and John Adams*“Brookhiser brings his succinct style to bear on the only founder more elusive than Jefferson. The result is a distinctive portrait of Madison as America's original man for all seasons.”Akhil Reed Amar, author of *America’s Constitution: A Biography*“Exactly what one would expect from Rick Brookhiser: another witty, wise, and elegant account of another American icon. The most vivid portrait of Madison to date, with a keen eye for the Virginian's achievements as a politico and a frank assessment of the slavery question—a topic on which previous Madison biographers have disappointed almost as much as did Madison himself.”Karl Rove“Richard Brookhiser has written a lively, deeply informed, and penetrating look at the small man who played such a big role in America’s founding. Father of the Constitution, prime mover behind approval of the Bill of Rights, trusted advisor and confidant to the young nation’s first president, and its fourth chief executive himself, James Madison is also our country’s first practical politician. He founded not just the first American political party, but also the American system of party politics itself. For James Madison had come—after long study and extended practical experience—to believe deeply in majority rule, public opinion, and a government of, by and for the people.”Kirkus Reviews“Though he came of age under the influence and tutelage of luminaries like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Brookhiser’s portrayal of Madison grounds him in the backbiting, often inglorious machinations of his contemporary political system; this approach is both significant and refreshing in presenting Madison as a flawed man, rather than a godlike ‘founding father.’... A useful introduction to a man who is often out shone by his presidential predecessors but who nevertheless was instrumental in creating our modern political system.”Publishers Weekly*“An astute, witty biography.... [Brookhiser’s] concise account deserves high marks.”Library Journal“Having previously examined the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the Federalist Party (Washington, Hamilton, and Adams), Brookhiser turns his relaxed and accessible writing style to the oracle of American constitutionalism and ‘father of modern politics.’... He has produced an exceptional synopsis of the essential founder’s political life.... Brookhiser gives fans of the Revolutionary generation and those interested in the origins of American politics an engaging and succinct narrative.”National Review online“If you want to read an engaging account of the life of the Father of the Constitution, this is the book for you... The prose is clear and reader-friendly.”Booklist“An opportune and cogent estimation of the life and times of the physically small but politically sizable Madison...A worthy addition for early-republic American history collections.”Washington Times“[Brookhiser’s] prose is concise and readable.... Mr. Brookhiser’s James Madison captures the delicate, complex and important ideas Madison formed and the lengths he went to to see to fruition the events that have contributed to the success of the experiment of a republic.”History Wire*“Brookhiser presents a prodigiously researched, warts-and-all study of Madison, as he interacted not only with the ‘Virginia dynasty’ but with such major players as Albert Gallatin, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton.”Washington Independent Review of Books“Richard Brookhiser’s new biography of Madison shares [John] Adams’s deeper insight into Madison’s achievements. It is a short, readable account of Madison’s remarkable political career from a good and perceptive writer.”Newark Star-Ledger “[Brookhiser] offers a new perspective on Madison as the father of American politics, an often overlooked part of his legacy. Brookhiser’s Madison is more than just constitutional scribe and protectorate of liberty. He’s the alchemist behind, if not the inventor of, the sometimes ugly business of politics.”Wall Street Journal“Madison is remembered today as one of the key framers of the Constitution and the drafter of the Bill of Rights; as the husband of the vivacious Dolley Madison; and as the president who barely escaped capture by the British punitive expedition that raided Washington during the War of 1812. But he deserves to be remembered for a great deal more. Richard Brookhiser, in the latest in his series of concise and highly readable books about the Founding Fathers, conveys the man in full and files a strong paternity suit pointing to Madison as the father of American politics.”The American Spectator“It is a challenging and important task to recognize and understand the founder’s faults without losing sight of their greatness while illuminating their enduring significance along the way. No historian does this better than Richard Brookhiser....James Madison is a small, unvarnished monument to its diminutive namesake. Drawing from and explicating Madison’s own public and personal writings, Brookhiser, employing equal doses of his customary acumen and wit, walks readers through the man’s eight decades in little more than 200 pages. It is an honest and at times unflattering rendering, but one that reaffirms Madison’s genius, and proves authoritatively that his fingerprints remain all over our institutions.” National Review“When walking the halls of the Revolutionary and early Federal periods, Brookhiser is a writer of the Plutarchan stamp, capable of reducing his subjects to their essence without resort to the gross simplifications of the reductionist. He tells us what we should know, not – exhaustively – what we might know. His books have a light touch, and the characters who emerge from his pages take on the reality they deserve. They don’t gather dust; they cast shadows.... Brookhiser simply shines pinpoints of light, penetratingly, into the more obscure corners of Madison’s life and work, raises his achievements into higher relief, and elevates this founder to a proper, merited place among his brethren. And that is much.”New York Times Book Review“[Brookhiser’s] sprightly narrative will serve as an entertaining introduction for those who are making their first acquaintance with Madison.... As an avid observer of the hyperpartisan political environment of our own age, Brookhiser uses Madison’s often tumultuous career to remind us that day-to-day politics have never been very pretty. Anyone involved in the political wars as long and as relentlessly as Madison was surely bound to make a few missteps, and a few enemies, along the way. But Brookhiser effectively argues that Madison, by melding his knowledge of political theory with shrewd political instincts, deserves a place close to the top of the list of America’s most successful politicians.” The New Yorker“In this congenial biography, the fourth President does indeed shine....[Brookhiser’s] descriptions of Madison’s friendships combine sentiment and anecdote in irresistible proportion.” Thomas S. Kidd, *Books & Culture*“Richard Brookhiser’s James Madison...is a welcome addition to the literature on Madison. His lively biography helps us understand Madison’s political brilliance and its lessons for today.... [Brookhiser] is the rare author who grasps the complexities both of history and of contemporary politics.”About the AuthorRichard Brookhiser is Senior Editor of the National Review and the author of nine books, including Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington; Alexander Hamilton, American; America’s First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735–1918; and Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution. Brookhiser also wrote and hosted the PBS documentary Rediscovering George Washington. He lives in New York City.