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  • James Monroe

  • A Life
  • By: Tim McGrath
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 28 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (323 ratings)

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James Monroe  By  cover art

James Monroe

By: Tim McGrath
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
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Publisher's summary

The extraordinary life of James Monroe: Soldier, senator, diplomat, and the last Founding Father to hold the presidency, a man who helped transform 13 colonies into a vibrant and mighty republic.

“A first-rate account of a remarkable life.” (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America)

Monroe lived a life defined by revolutions. From the battlefields of the War for Independence, to his ambassadorship in Paris in the days of the guillotine, to his own role in the creation of Congress's partisan divide, he was a man who embodied the restless spirit of the age. He was never one to back down from a fight, whether it be with Alexander Hamilton, with whom he nearly engaged in a duel (prevented, ironically, by Aaron Burr), or George Washington, his hero turned political opponent.

This magnificent new biography vividly recreates the epic sweep of Monroe's life: His near-death wounding at Trenton and a brutal winter at Valley Forge; his pivotal negotiations with France over the Louisiana Purchase; his deep, complex friendships with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; his valiant leadership when the British ransacked the nation's capital and burned down the Executive Mansion; and Monroe's lifelong struggle to reckon with his own complicity in slavery. Elected the fifth president of the United States in 1816, this fiercest of partisans sought to bridge divisions and sow unity, calming turbulent political seas and inheriting Washington's mantle of placing country above party. Over his two terms, Monroe transformed the nation, strengthening American power both at home and abroad.

Critically-acclaimed author Tim McGrath has consulted an extensive array of primary sources, many rarely seen since Monroe's own time, to conjure up this fascinating portrait of an essential American statesman and president.

©2020 Tim McGrath (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"This is a welcome and long-overdue portrait of an essential American. Soldier, diplomat, and president, James Monroe was a vital figure in the early Republic, and Tim McGrath has given us a first-rate account of a remarkable life." (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House)

"As Tim McGrath deftly demonstrates in this nimbly written and meticulously researched biography, there is much more to James Monroe than the famous doctrine that bears his name. This is the captivating story of a president who after gaining his political reputation amid the partisan battles of the early republic, did his best to bring a nation together. That Monroe was only partially successful makes his presidency all the more relevant to our own contentious times. Highly recommended." (Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times best-selling author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea)

"Tim McGrath’s James Monroe fills out a luminous portrait of the most underappreciated of our Founders. In this comprehensive new biography, McGrath colorfully portrays the man whose ambition transformed the shape and character of our nation. Monroe will be underappreciated no more." (Joel Richard Paul, author of Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times)

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