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Rockville , MD, USA | Member Since 2006

  • 3 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 455 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • James Madison

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Garry Wills
    • Narrated By Ira Claffey

    The eternal conundrum about James Madison - a key framer of the U.S. Constitution, a formidable political figure, and a man of penetrating analytical intellect and tremendous foresight - is why, when he became chief executive, did he steer the ship of state with such an unsteady hand? In this examination of Madison's life and career, Garry Wills outlines the union of unfortunate circumstance, misplaced temperament, and outright poor judgment that bogged down Madison's presidency.

    Noemi G says: "Biography Is OK"
    "James Madison"

    Among biographies of James Madison, this recent short treatise by Garry Wills is without doubt the worst, most shallow and frivolous. Instead of history, Garry Wills, professor of "American Culture", provides a critique of Madison's personality. This book is more of an extended opinion piece and modern journalism than biography or history. There is little attempt at insight or balance. The biography provides more insights into Mr. Wills' personality than that of Madison, who is called feckless, provincal, small-minded and resentful. This book, like most of Gary Wills' books, I was unable to finish.

    James Madison -short, unattractive physically, in chronic poor health (what was his chronic illness?) - became the father of the American Constitution and the single major influence in creating our Government, at least the better parts of it. His strengths were the force of his intellect and depth of knowledge of government, created by study, self-discipline and ambition. The shortcomings of his presidency reflected the shortcomings of the early American Government, several of which his administration corrected. He led the country through an unpopular war that was forced upon him without a strong treasury, with an overpowerful Congress and with poor advisors and cabinet members, to a victory that established the United States as a truly independent and forceful nation, correcting the many problems left by the Treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.

    Madison learned from his mistakes and deserves better treatment than this book provides. At least give him credit for having perhaps the greatest first lady of our country.

    For a more complete and balanced biography of Madison, try Ralph Ketcham's "James Madison. A Biography" and for an easier read or listen, Labunski's "James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights" available on audiobook.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

    John says: "Priceless! Best book I've read in years"
    "Listening pleasure"
    Any additional comments?

    David McCullough manages to weave the biographies of a dozen 19th century American painters, writers, physicians and diplomats into an engaging and totally pleasurable experience. The only disappointment was that it ended; the only shortcoming was that it lacked photographs and pictures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Washington's Crossing

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Hackett Fischer
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger

    This New York Times best seller is a thrilling account of one of the most pivotal moments in United States history. Six months after the Declaration of Independence, America was nearly defeated. Then on Christmas night, George Washington led his men across the Delaware River to destroy the Hessians at Trenton. A week later Americans held off a counterattack, and in a brilliant tactical move, Washington crept behind the British army to win another victory. The momentum had reversed.

    William says: "Particularly Good Military History"
    "Washington's Crossing Audio"

    Great history writing with use of many newly discovered original sources (diaries and letters of common soldiers) and expertly read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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