Customer Reviews for

The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    BOTH A BETTER MAN AND A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN I HAD EVER EVEN SUSPECTED

    One should not be surprised when reading history or biography to learn new things about men or events. What surprised me was how very little I actually knew either of James Monroe or his era. WOW!!! This book truly filled in some major gaps in my knowledge of both the Madison and the Monroe presidencies, the War of 1812, the Era of Good Feelings and enough other matters to make me want to know even more. James Monroe--what a man. His Revolutionary War exploits of heroism were enough to have made his life significant; but his efforts as both Secretary of State and interim Secretary of War (and practically de facto President)during the last 2 years of the Madison presidency) as chronicled in chapters 13 and 14 are alone worth the price of the book. The account of how his own enormous popularity and the genuine goodwill he generated caused an end of political party divisions by actually causing the end (or at least the suspension) of political parties themselves is beyond comprehension to the "modern mind" of this man. In the absence of a totalitarian or authoritarian personality to dominate the void left by the end of party-ism, personal factionalism of the most virulent kind ensued and resulted in the inevitable re-emergence of political parties. A gentleman, a hero, a visionary, a statesman, a patriot. Where are the likes of James Madison today when we so greatly need them?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    Great Single Volume Narrative

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this single volume narrative of the life and especially the presidency of James Monroe. Having been on an early republic biographical kick for the past couple of months, I have knocked off R.N. Smith's Patriarch about Washington, R. Chernow's Alexander Hamilton (fantastic and exhaustive), E.P. Crapol's John Tyler, J. Meacham's American Lion, with W.R. Borneman's Polk waiting on the shelf. Unger's Monroe has been a wonderful read, but I wish that editors would do a better job of correcting copy before going to print. As I got to the end, on page 314, there is a glaring error as the narrative states that "On December 2, 1783, Monroe strode into Congress to deliver his seventh annual message to that body." Well, I do not know exactly what James Monroe was doing on December 2, 1783 (most likely, he was hanging out with fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson because they had both been elected to Congress, but Monroe was broke and Jefferson had money), but he was certainly not addressing Congress as the President, since the excecutive branch did not yet exist and the only Congress was the Confederation Congress rapidly showing its inability to effectively deal with the issues of a new nation of sovereign states. However, on December 2, 1823, James Monroe was in fact the president and was addressing a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives for the seventh time as the chief executive officer. I was so enjoying the narrative until this derailment over a simple editorial oversight in the chronology. Otherwise, an excellent book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    Amazing

    Great pesident

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Part of our nations birth

    Everyone should read about our forefathers and learn how our nation was born. Very well done. I learned some new facts.

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  • Posted May 21, 2011

    Excellent Read

    Historical presidential biographies, if well written, tend to spell bind me. This one did not fail. I felt invited into President Monroe's life in a rich and exciting way. I learned more about Monroe, his family, and his accomplishments than I ever did in history class. This book will not disappoint!

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great political biography

    After reading Mr Unger's book on Patrick Henry, this book about James Monroe failed to keep me as riveted. While The Last Founding Father was equally as informative and written in a compelling fashion, there were portions which were not so captivating. It was likely my lack of interest in some of the minutia which Mr Unger comprehensively describe; in spite of my view, the whole of this book was educational. Page after page, it is clear Mr Unger painstakingly researched and understood not only the man, James Monroe, but the political climate and events which influenced decisions and outcomes. In light of my reservation of this book, I will continue to purchase Mr Unger's books.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very Good Book on One of History's Forgotten Presidents

    James Monroe, as the last founding father to serve in the White House truly does close an era of history. Unfortunatley both he and Elizabeth Monroe have been largely overlooked by history to our detriment since there is much to learn from this family.

    As a young man Monroe joined the revolutionary cause and fought bravely for this country, surviving a life threatening wound. Following in Washington's footsteps he didn't accept payment for his service. This would set the stage for a lifetime of financial sacrifice in his country's service.

    His political career included serving as a foreign diplomat, senator, and as a governor that forever changed the role of Governor of Virginia, and finally Preisdent of the United States.

    Unger portrays Monroe as an affable man who knew how to nurture relationships, queit until pushed by passion to act boldly even disregarding the Constitution at times, politically astute, a true unifer as he destroyed the two party political system for a time, and a visionary who successfully increased the land mass of the country and set forth the famous Monroe Doctrine.

    Elizabeth Monroe is portrayed as a fascinating, beautiful, highly educated and courageous woman. Thier marriage and dedication to each other rival John and Abigail Adams.

    Unger does an incredible job of completely telling the story of James Monroe and providing important details where they belong. For those who find biographies fraught with too much detail that will not be an issue here. Those who want a complete understanding of the subject will find it with Unger.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Bring the "Last of the Founding Fathers" to light

    It is an excellent biography of James Monroe. The story is written in an exciting fashion and it is an easy read.

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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