Next book


A well-considered and -written biography of this gifted Founding Father’s many contributions to the early republic.

Authoritative account of the public career of James Madison (1751–1836).

Son of a wealthy Virginia planter, Madison missed out on the American Revolution due to illness but played critical roles in the shaping of the new nation. Besides working to remake monarchical Virginia into a republican society, he helped form the continental coalition that sent delegates from 12 states to Philadelphia for the Federal Convention in 1787. Short, cerebral and soft-spoken, he combined the strengths of a diligent scholar and an informed politician, bringing his studies of ancient and modern governments to bear as a leader in the movement to ratify the constitution. Gutzman (History/Western Connecticut State Univ.; The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, 2007, etc.) draws on primary sources to portray Madison as an adept nation-builder who drafted the Bill of Rights and fought for a strong federal government and the free exercise of religion. As co-author with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay of The Federalist editorials, he argued vehemently for ratification of the Constitution, often noting the applicability of historical lessons to present circumstances. “Every person seems to acknowledge his greatness,” said a fellow convention delegate. Gutzman analyzes Madison’s contributions to The Federalist Papers, notably his “ingenious” call for ratification in Federalist No. 10, his steps to guarantee religious freedom in Virginia and his important role as a close advisor to President George Washington. With the War of 1812, he became the nation’s first war-time president. His outgoing, politically connected wife Dolley Madison (“the Presidentess”) fostered the Washington social whirl, including the tradition of the Inaugural Ball.

A well-considered and -written biography of this gifted Founding Father’s many contributions to the early republic.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-62500-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

Next book


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Next book



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview