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The Last Founding Father Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

In this lively and compelling biography, Harlow Giles Unger reveals the dominant political figure of a generation. A fierce fighter in four critical Revolutionary War battles and a courageous survivor of Valley Forge and a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton, James Monroe (1751 - 1831) went on to become America's first full-time politician, dedicating his life to securing America's national and international durability.

Decorated by George Washington for his exploits as a soldier, Monroe became a congressman, a senator, U.S. minister to France and Britain, governor of Virginia, secretary of state, secretary of war, and finally America's fifth president.

The country embraced Monroe's dreams of empire and elected him to two terms, the second time unanimously. Mentored by each of Americas first four presidents, Monroe was unquestionably the best prepared president in our history.

Like David McCullough's John Adams and Jon Meacham's recent book on Andrew Jackson, this new biography of Monroe is both a solid listen and a stellar scholarship history in the grand tradition.

©2009 Harlow Giles Unger; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[A] cogent reexamination of a relatively neglected American icon...Unger makes a solid and cohesive argument for Monroe's importance in the early years of the United States....A worthy attempt to rescue Monroe from obscurity for a mainstream audience." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[A] well-written biography...Unger presents the fifth president as a man of independence and initiative rather than merely a disciple of Jefferson, Madison, and John Quincy Adams...Will appeal to a more popular audience, especially those who enjoy presidential history or studying the Founding Fathers. Historians and history students should read as well." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Aaron Janz 03-15-17
    Aaron Janz 03-15-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent, but biased"

    While this book was very well written, informative, and entertaining, it becomes clear within the first few sentences that Unger idolizes Monroe and that the book will continuously praise and deeply discuss all of his positive aspects, while ignoring or brushing off some of his more negative ones. He largely discounts the accomplishments of many of the other founding fathers in an effort to make Monroe stand out as their superior. All that being said, it is still a very good book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E Tripp 03-02-17

    DET

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    "Great Read"
    If you could sum up The Last Founding Father in three words, what would they be?

    very well presented


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    James Monroe


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Andrew Jackson at the John Quincy Adams inauguration ball.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A true patriot.


    Any additional comments?

    such a good story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Gross 07-30-16
    Mike Gross 07-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Very biased"

    What I learned from this book:
    1. James Monroe is the greatest human being to ever live. Monroe was a Christ-like figure who had no faults, and if everyone would have just gone along with him, things would be better.

    2. Everyone else sucks! James Madison, Andrew Jackson, and everyone who didn't perfectly align with Monroe.

    I purchased this audiobook because it was the only Monroe biography available through Audible. Unfortunately the book is so biased towards Monroe I can't tell where the hero worship ends and the facts begin. I have no sense of who the imperfect man Monroe was. I'm sure he was great, but he was human, and I have learned nothing in that regard.
    Please Audible give me a better book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 12-06-12
    Anonymous Wheat Ridge, CO, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Bold to a fault"

    According to Unger, Monroe almost single handily saved America during the War of 1812 and ushered in a post-partisan era of good-feelings. Unger describes pre-cotton slavery as a 'paternalistic' institution (with no hint of sarcasm) and provides an extremely lopsided account of US, native American wars - describing the atrocities that Native Americans committed but not those of the US.

    Yet despite Unger's (very) skewed narrative, I found the book fun to listen to. He makes early America come to life in a way that more reflective biographies often fail to.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Glenwood, IA, United States 10-08-11
    Doug Glenwood, IA, United States 10-08-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful!"

    Excellent telling of Monroe's story! The author offers great background material. The book is well read.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-22-11
    Dale Pittsburgh, PA, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2010
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    "flawed, but tolerable"

    I'm in the process of devouring audiobooks on early American history. Thus far, I've listened to books on the first 4 presidents as well as Franklin (among others). This biography is the weakest I've encountered so far. The soaring horn intro and exit as well as the narrators deep and smooth voice bring to mind a campaign add. There seems to be very little objectivity or perspective on the part of the author. On the whole, I don't mind when an author openly admires a biography subject but at times this author glorifies Monroe at the expense of other figures like Madison and J.Q. Adams. The text is often trite and hyperbolic and riddled with political cliche's. If one is looking for a summary of Monroe's life with a decent summary of the first 50 years of U.S. history, it's not bad, but I wouldn't consider it a serious academic work.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry 08-11-11
    Larry 08-11-11
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    "Skip it"

    Not a very informative biography of Jame Monroe. It comes across as being written for a 7th or 8th grade student, with more rah-rah than information.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian R. Trotter 09-29-14
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    "Written by a James Monroe worshipper"
    Any additional comments?

    I'm sure James Monroe was a great guy and one of our best Presidents, but this book makes him out to be flawless. Every part of his life or legacy that could be seen as potentially negative is blamed on someone else. Other great men of the era are belittled in the attempt to make James Monroe seem to be the greatest person to have ever walked the planet. James Madison in particular is portrayed as incompetent, weak, and completely dependent on the mighty Monroe. History has judged the two friends and Presidents to be basically equal. The Monroe worship doesn't really start until the last third of the book. Overall it is a good depiction of the life of the 5th President, but I wold have liked it more if Monroe were depicted without the halo.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 08-22-14
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 08-22-14 Member Since 2012

    Kay

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    "Hagiography Read By a Tent Revival Preacher"

    I usually can stand hagiography. I take it with a grain of salt. But this one is so over the top that I'm bailing after an hour. I think it might go down a little better in print. The melodramatic reading puts it beyond my ability to continue past the first hour.

    I'd like to know more about James Monroe. But surely there's a better biography out there somewhere.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Weise 09-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book, but a lot of hero worship"

    I've read a couple of books about James Madison- this book portrays him as weak minded, which I find odd. A lot of hero worship, but worth the time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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