Julie: James Madison

James Madison, by Garry Wills

This wasn’t the engrossing read for me that John Adams by David McCullough was, but it was a huge improvement over Thomas Jefferson and His Demons.  I liked the writing, although there were a few places that needed some copy editing.  It was much more accessible and I felt like the author did a much better job of highlighting the relevant aspects of Madison’s career.

Madison himself was something of a wishy-washy President, frequently changing his mind on major issues.  His Presidency is also defined by the War of 1812 as well as the country’s interaction with Napoleon during the years following the French Revolution.

Honestly I find it hard to say a lot about Madison because I didn’t find him all that interesting as a President.  The parts of the book that appealed most to me dealth with the war itself and the strategic mistakes Monroe made.  I’ve also always had a special place in my heart for the Battle of New Orleans ever since an amazing lecture in Trey Berry’s American Heritage course in college.  The comparisons between The War of 1812 and the Vietnam War also brought back a lot of good Dr. Berry memories.

I’m looking forward to my next Presidential Challenge read, which will hopefully be The Last Founding Father.  Booney, Jacki, and Jenny have all raved about it, so I’m looking forward to diving in, assuming I can find it at the used book store that is!

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