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Tempest at Dawn by James D. Best

Tempest at Dawn (edition 2010)

by James D. Best

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1122107,804 (4.2)1
Title:Tempest at Dawn
Authors:James D. Best
Info:Wheatmark (2010), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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Tempest at Dawn by James D. Best



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Was free for kindle on 1/19/2012
  Spurts | Oct 29, 2015 |
A most timely read, as tea partyists loudly insist that they alone preserve the letter of the U.S. Constitution and certain politicians and talk show hosts make crazy claims about what that document actually says and what the deified Founding Fathers intended. It might be far-fetched to think that rabid partisans would take time actually to study the period, but for those willing to put in a bit of time, James D. Best brings the Convention of 1787 to life. A postscript discusses the advantages and disadvantages of historical fiction and lays out Best's methodology. Therefore the novel can safely be read as a reliable source of knowledge on the events it portrays. The names from dull history books come to life as full-fledged people, eating and drinking together, thinking, debating, battling. The Constitution does not fall full-formed from heaven. The Founders have no alternative, for old politics and economy are crumbling. Most hate compromise but they are forced to do it. Most realize that compromise over slavery will eventually lead to crisis.

The novel's premise is that a brash young historian gains an interview with the reclusive former President James Madison shortly before Madison's death. The narrator wants to see Madison's notes on the Convention but has to settle for a narrative of the events. The story shifts abruptly from the 1835 interview to the 1787 events, told in too smooth and engaging a style to be accounted for in the context of an interview with a decrepit old man. This criticism aside, Tempest at Dawn must be declared a major triumph in making America's founding document accessible and in showing that flesh-and-blood humans were behind it. Highly enjoyable and thought-provoking. ( )
  pdgarrett48 | Oct 20, 2012 |
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