Synopses & Reviews
A major new biography of the fourth president of the United States by New York Times bestselling author Lynne Cheney
This majestic new biography of James Madison explores the astonishing story of a man of vaunted modesty who audaciously changed the world. Among the Founding Fathers, Madison was a true genius of the early republic.
Outwardly reserved, Madison was the intellectual driving force behind the Constitution and crucial to its ratification. His visionary political philosophy and rationale for the union of statesand#151;so eloquently presented in The Federalist papersand#151;helped shape the country Americans live in today.
Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison would found the first political party in the countryand#8217;s historyand#151;the Democratic Republicans. As Jeffersonand#8217;s secretary of state, he managed the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States. As president, Madison led the country in its first war under the Constitution, the War of 1812. Without precedent to guide him, he would demonstrate that a republic could defend its honor and independenceand#151;and remain a republic still.
"In a meticulously researched, richly detailed look at the life and times of Madison, former Second Lady Cheney (We the People) fleshes out the achievements and struggles of this American Founding Father. As much a biography of the statesman, intellectual, and politician who rose to become President as a history of the country's tumultuous post-Revolutionary War growth, the work covers a lot of ground. Authoritative, conversational, certainly confident in its analysis, the book paints Madison as a man of great accomplishments; one who struggled against setbacks, political opponents, and health problems. Cheney does veer uncomfortably close to hero worship: 'Madison's time of extraordinary achievement came after years of intense focus, deep concentration, and nearly obsessive effort, behavior that describes most lives of genius, from Sir Isaac Newton's to Mozart's to Einstein's.' However, she does show his impressive influence in helping to forge a nation out of chaos through constant debate and begrudging compromise. Cheney conclusively demonstrates through the historical record that Madison, in word and deed, was a primary figure in shaping early American development and successfully establishes 'a deeper understanding of the man who did more than any other to conceive and establish the nation we know.' Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
“With this compelling, elegant, original biography, Lynne Cheney brings the great, elusive James Madison back to life, reminding us of how powerfully this brilliant founders political and intellectual leadership has shaped the course of American history. In this era in which Madison is too often eclipsed by more histrionic founders, Cheney shows us his crucial, fascinating relationships with Dolley, Thomas Jefferson and an all-star cast, and lets us witness the growth of a world-changing political philosopher. Her book demonstrates why Madison deserves to stand near the center of our early American firmament.”
—Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors and Presidential Courage
“Lucidly written . . . this is probably the best single-volume bio of Madison that we now have.”
—Gordon Wood, New York Times Book Review
“The book is a lovingly researched tribute to an often-underestimated man. It does not explicitly refer to modern controversies. But present-day politics intrudes.”
“[A] meticulously researched, richly detailed look at the life and times of Madison. Former Second Lady Cheney fleshes out the achievements and struggles of this American founding father. . . . [A]uthoritative, conversational, certainly confident in its analysis.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“James Madison did as much to put his stamp on the nation as any of the founders, yet too rarely is he given his due in the pantheon of Americas statesman. In this stunning, brilliant work, Lynne Cheney rectifies this glaring oversight, and brings Madison to life as never before. Written with subtlety and grace, the book is as groundbreaking as it is fresh, as enthralling as it is compulsively readable. It is nothing short of a masterpiece that deserves to be in the bookshelf of every history buff!”
—Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval
“A nuanced study on its own and a thoughtful presentation by one of todays prominent public intellectuals.”
“Cheney might have written a book that made Madison a prop in todays political battles. She did not, which is greatly to her credit and true to the life of the man.”
“After more than twenty-five years working on the Madison Papers, its not often that I read something about him that is fresh and engaging, and discovers new aspects of his life and character. Cheneys exploration of Madisons health issues, not only as a young man, but throughout his career, is imaginative and groundbreaking. Her writing is both fluid and polished; the tone is measured and judicious; there isnt a strident note in the whole book. And, an added plus, her treatment of Madison as a political actor is informed by a sophisticated knowledge of politics, without in any way being presentist.”
—David B. Mattern, Research Professor and Senior Associate Editor, Papers of James Madison, University of Virginia
“On the whole [Cheney] offers a lucid, well-paced, wonderfully written, and authoritative history. Very well worth your time.”
“This is the James Madison we always should have known about. Thanks to Lynne Cheneys well-researched book, its the James Madison we will now always know.”
—The Washington Times
“The Constitution remains Madisons greatest legacy. Cheneys detailed biography helps renew appreciation for the man behind it.”
—Pittsburgh Tribune Review
“Lynne Cheney has written what may be the most authoritative and comprehensive book ever on the life of Founding Father and President James Madison. It offers a fascinating perspective into how brilliant Madison truly was.”
A major new biography of the fourth U.S. president, from New York Timesbestselling author Lynne Cheney
James Madison was a true genius of the early republic, the leader who did more than any other to create the nation we know today. This majestic new biography tells his story.
Outwardly reserved, Madison was the intellectual driving force behind the Constitution. His visionary political philosophyeloquently presented in the Federalist Paperswas a crucial factor behind the Constitutions ratification, and his political savvy was of major importance in getting the new government underway. As secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson, he managed the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States. As president, Madison led the country in its first war under the Constitution, the War of 1812. Without precedent to guide him, he would demonstrate that a republic could defend its honor and independence while remaining true to its young constitution.
About the Author
Lynne Cheney is the author or coauthor of twelve books, including six bestselling books about American history for children. Her most recent book is We the People: The Story of Our Constitution. The wife of former vice president Dick Cheney, she lives in McLean, Virginia, and Wilson, Wyoming.