Short, plain, balding, neither soldier nor orator, low on charisma and high on intelligence, Madison cared more about achieving results than taking the credit. To reach his lifelong goal of a self-governing constitutional republic, he blended his talents with those of key partners. It was Madison who led the drive for the Constitutional Convention and pressed for an effective new government as his patron George Washington lent the effort legitimacy.
"Excellent history of our nation's founding"
The First Congress was the most important in US history, says prizewinning author and historian Fergus Bordewich, because it established how our government would actually function. Had it failed - as many at the time feared it would - it's possible that the United States as we know it would not exist today.
"Often excellent, sometimes flawed"
The period following the Civil War was one of the most controversial eras in American history. This comprehensive account of the period captures the drama of those turbulent years that played such an important role in shaping modern America.
"Very Thorough and Eye-Opening"
From Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Joseph J. Ellis, the unexpected story of why the 13 colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew.
"A Wonderful Gem"
The Constitutional Convention affected nothing less than a revolution in the nature of the American government. Led by James Madison, a small cohort of delegates devised a plan that would radically alter the balance of power between state and national governments, and then sprung that idea on a largely unsuspecting convention.
In September 1776 the vulnerable Continental Army, under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle), evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war.
"Not his best Work..."
In White Trash, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early 19th century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ's Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.
"Wowed by Truth"
In August 1776, a little over a month after the Continental Congress had formally declared independence from Britain, the revolution was on the verge of a sudden and disastrous end. General George Washington found his troops outmanned and outmaneuvered at the Battle of Brooklyn, and it looked like there was no escape. But thanks to a series of desperate rear-guard attacks by a single heroic regiment, famously known as the Immortal 400, Washington was able to evacuate his men, and the nascent Continental Army lived to fight another day.
"Groundbreaking masterpiece on American Revolution"
When the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia adjourned late in the summer of 1787, the delegates returned to their states to report on the new Constitution, which had to be ratified by specially elected conventions in at least nine states. Pauline Maier recounts the dramatic events of the ensuing debate in homes, taverns, and convention halls, drawing generously on the speeches and letters of founding fathers, both familiar and forgotten, on all sides.
From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country's most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise - now more than 30 years old and with no end in sight.
"A Key to Understanding the US Need for Perp. War"
Why we think it’s a great listen: If you ever thought history was boring, David McCullough’s performance of his fascinating book will change your mind. In this stirring audiobook, McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence, when the whole American cause was riding on their success.
"Amazing how little you know"
Amid a great collection of scholarship and narrative history on the Revolutionary War and the American struggle for independence, there is a gaping hole - one that John Ferling's latest audiobook, Whirlwind, will fill. Books chronicling the Revolution have largely ranged from multivolume tomes that appeal to scholars and the most serious general listeners to microhistories that necessarily gloss over swaths of Independence-era history with only cursory treatment.
"Truly a Whirlwind read!"
This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart. It follows him from the Hill Country to New Deal Washington, from his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut as Congressman, his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, at age 31, of the national power for which he hungered.
"The Best of all Biographies"
Originally published in six volumes, which sold more than one million copies, Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln was praised as the most noteworthy historical biography of Sandburg’s generation. He later distilled this monumental work into one volume that critics and readers alike consider his greatest work of nonfiction, as well as the most distinguished, authoritative biography of Lincoln ever published.
Growing up in an Illinois prairie town, Sandburg listened to stories of old-timers who had known Lincoln. By the time this single-volume edition was competed, he had spent a lifetime studying, researching, and writing about our 16th president.
"No Spoiler Alert"
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
"Deja vu for me"
The story of the American Revolution told from the unique perspective of British Parliament and the streets of London, rather than that of the Colonies. Here, Nick Bunker explores and illuminates the dramatic chain of events that led to the outbreak of the war-revealing a tale of muddle, mistakes, and misunderstandings by men in London that led to the Boston tea party and then to the decision to send redcoats into action against the minutemen.
"What does the Price of Tea in China or ..."
He fought for Washington, served with Lincoln, witnessed Bunker Hill, and sounded the clarion against slavery on the eve of the Civil War. He negotiated an end to the War of 1812, engineered the annexation of Florida, and won the Supreme Court decision that freed the African captives of La Amistad. He served his nation as minister to six countries, secretary of state, senator, congressman, and president. John Quincy Adams was all of these things and more. In this masterful biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals Adams as a towering figure in the nation’s formative years.
"Informative and well written."
Fifty-five men met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a document that would create a country and change a world: the Constitution. Here is a remarkable rendering of that fateful time, told with humanity and humor. Decision in Philadelphia is the best popular history of the Constitutional Convention; in it, the life and times of 18th-century America not only come alive, but the very human qualities of the men who framed the document are brought provocatively into focus - casting many of the Founding Fathers in a new light.
The must-have companion to Bill O'Reilly's historical docudrama Legends and Lies: The Patriots, an exciting and eye-opening look at the Revolutionary War through the lives of its leaders. The American Revolution was neither inevitable nor a unanimous cause. It pitted neighbors against each other as loyalists and colonial rebels faced off for their lives and futures. These were the times that tried men's souls: No one was on stable ground, and few could be trusted.
"Just Okay "
Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades", now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.
"An Outstanding & Riveting Book!"
Known to generations of Americans for his stirring call to arms, “Give me liberty or give me death,” Patrick Henry is all but forgotten today as the first of the Founding Fathers to call for independence, the first to call for revolution, and the first to call for a bill of rights. If Washington was the “Sword of the Revolution” and Jefferson, “the Pen,” Patrick Henry more than earned his epithet as “the Trumpet” of the Revolution for rousing Americans to arms in the Revolutionary War.
"A Decent Book on an Amazing Character"
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor tells the riveting story of a war that redefined North America. In a world of double identities, slippery allegiances, and porous borders, the leaders of the American Republic and the British Empire struggled to control their own diverse peoples. Taylor’s vivid narrative of an often brutal—sometimes farcical—war reveals much about the tangled origins of the United States and Canada.
"A proper history of an obscure epoch"
This monumental book tells the enthralling story of one of the greatest accomplishments in our nation's history, the building of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge rose out of the expansive era following the Civil War, when Americans believed all things were possible.
"An Historian and not a Novelist"
Nigel Hamilton's Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close-up as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel - suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs - of Roosevelt's battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy.
©2007 David O. Stewart; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC
"A wonderful true story, told with passion."
More detail and reasoning than I've heard this history repeated. Verbal drama at its best.
I do recommend this book, although I would have liked it to have been a little more detailed. It is still a good account of the convention.
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