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Posted February 24, 2003
A fine scholarly work
This book is a tour de force as an intellectual history of Madison's republican ideology and how the "nation builder" remained loyal to his bedrock beliefs even as world events placed enormous strains on the man and the politician. Ketcham's detailed look at the formation of Madison's ideology is unparalled in its scope and completeness. The author also provides a first rate and even-handed analysis of who was at fault for the burning of the capital during the War of 1812. The only down side to this tome is what I consider the unnecessary detail -- often mind-benumbing minutiae --around names and personages long forgotten and unimportant to the story of Madison's life. Having to read through the names of each of the visitors to the Montpelier mansion for Dolly's many parties and socials is just a distraction. Overall, the work will appeal to serious students of history and those with an appreciation of fine scholarship and detailed historical discovery. For those looking for an entertaining read, such as one might find in a popular biography like "John Adams", look elsewhere because this book requires time and effort. Well worth it, though, for the initiated.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2011
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