This is not my type of book. I rarely read biographies and I don’t read books about American history. I’ve never been particularly interested in the genesis of the United States, thus I know embarrassingly little about our country. Prior to reading this book, I wasn’t even positive that James Madison was a president; therefore, I’m not sure if Cheney presents any new information here, as it is all new to me. Although political biographies are not my forte, I can say that this one has been painstakingly researched, and that Lynne Cheney knows her shit.
Apparently, James Madison has been known for being president, for being modestly shy, and for writing The Federalist Papers. In 458 very, very detailed pages, Cheney sheds some light on everything else that Madison deserves credit for. For instance, Madison substantially contributed to the Constitution, he helped create the first political party, and he had Donald Trump hair way before there ever was a Donald Trump.
James Madison: A Life Reconsidered was a bit dry for my tastes. Moreover, being as I have never considered Madison’s life in the first place, I am not in a position to adequately judge just how innovative Cheney’s research is. That being said, Cheney clearly spent a great deal of time digging into the intricacies of Madison’s life, and she appears to have done so rather scrupulously. Although I struggled with the political portions (ie, most of the book), the information regarding Madison’s personal life was rather interesting. His wife seemed like a pretty fun lady, and I didn’t know that he had epilepsy. I also wasn’t even sure who James Madison was, so what do I know? Nevertheless, Cheney’s passion for her subject matter is evident, and one cannot help but get caught up in her enthusiasm, at least momentarily.
A special thanks to Penguin for providing me with a copy of Lynne Cheney’s James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.