• James Madison

  • A Biography
  • By: Ralph Ketcham
  • Narrated by: Bill Burrows
  • Length: 38 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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James Madison  By  cover art

James Madison

By: Ralph Ketcham
Narrated by: Bill Burrows
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Publisher's Summary

The best one-volume biography of Madison’s life, Ketcham’s biography not only traces Madison’s career, it gives listeners a sense of the man. As Madison said of his early years in Virginia under the study of Donald Robertson, who introduced him to thinkers like Montaigne and Montesquieu, "all that I have been in life I owe largely to that man." It also captures a side of Madison that is less rarely on display.

"Madison's personality comes alive in these pages, his strengths and weaknesses of mind and character clearly outlined. His great services in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 are graphically portrayed. The analysis of his political theory, and of the way in which he sought to apply it to the establishment of of government under the Constitution, is excellent. The depiction of Jeffersonian and Madisonian foreign policy up to the outbreak of the War of 1812 is clear and succinct. This is an excellent biography." (American Historical Review)

"Utilizing the vast amount of source material made available in the last 30 years, Ketcham has captured the essential man in his times and in doing so has made him understandable for us in our own day." (Los Angeles Times)

"This single volume has provided a penetrating and highly readable biography which merits distinction as the best one-volume life of Madison yet written." (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography)

©1990 The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (P)2021 Upfront Books

What listeners say about James Madison

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator Too Robotic

It’s an interesting story, but the gentleman reading it is very robotic and it becomes distracting.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Boring narration of dry content

I could not finish. It would have put me to sleep while driving and killed me. It was akin to having a history text read by a computer generated voice.

1 person found this helpful

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A comprehensive biography

An excellent and comprehensive biography of this amazing man. Perhaps a bit of an apologist for his failure to free his slaves yet the author doesn’t gloss over it. The great contributions of James Madison and his relationships with other major figures of the early republic are well written. The reader has numerous mispronunciations which are a bit annoying.

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excellent single volume biography of Madison

very thorough, good balance of strengths and weaknesses, remarkable founding father of USA. Critical of Madison's failure to free slaves even upon his death

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long and informative

Very long listen. The largest portion was on writing of the constitution. Would have liked more insight into the man himself but was more than adequate to give a informative impression of Madison.