JAMES MADISON by Alfred Steinberg


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This is an excellent digest biography cum early American history. Madison's public career started in 1774. For the next 42 years he was always near the center of affairs and the author always defines the issues Madison dealt with--from the pre-Revolutionary to post-War of 1812 problems. Madison, so much overshadowed in his life and in history by his presidential predecessor, Jefferson, and so often outshone in social histories by his wife, Dolly, gets steady attention in this book. He emerges as an interesting man of ideas. It is much easier to write about men dedicated to physical action, but without resorting to the fictionalization and dramatization which characterizes so much juvenile biography. Mr. Steinberg has done very well by his cerebral/sedentary subject. There is a stunningly irrelevant ""Selected Bibliography."" It leaves this question--selected for whom? For the serious scholar of the man or era, it is inadequate. For most high school students, many of the multi-volume 19th century studies suggested are either difficult to get hold of or defeating in terms of size and their mannered dreariness.

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 1965
Publisher: Putnam