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James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill…

James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (2006)

by Richard Labunski

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I found listening to this book so difficult that I stopped after the second disc. I hope to grow up a bit and get back to it one day in order to finish it because it's stated intent is so important to understanding USA. I was also hoping for a more intimate look into Madison but, as far as I went, I didn't find it. Again, I may not have been paying enough attention. Either way, the writing (or the reading) wasn't of the type to grab me quickly enough. ( )
  gmillar | May 5, 2013 |
The book is about a topic I find very interesting. It provides a detailed exposition of the enactment of the Bill of Rights. Patrick Henry was a strong opponent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and I learned a great deal about him in this book. I would recommend the book to anyone interested in this important event. ( )
  wildbill | Sep 5, 2010 |
A hard slog...page by page. Finally finished. Dinky (5'4") Madison was known for his compromising personality. The book outlines a detailed exposition of the enactment of the Bill of Rights and credits completion to Madison. Patrick Henry and Madison were political enemies as Hemry was a strong opponent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the basis of states rights...an issue not solved until the completion of the civil war. Read/listen to this book only if you are a complete fanatic about political issues in the USA's formative years. ( )
  buffalogr | Feb 9, 2010 |
A compelling story detailing important issues, but very poor writing and lack of chronological organization of the narrative made it a struggle to read. ( )
  LaurelMildred | Jul 2, 2009 |
Lots of struggle, not much of what it was over

First of all, I do want to say that author Richard Labunski did a fine job detailing the trials and travails of the road to the first Congress travelled by James Madison, one of our most indispensable Founders. Labunski reminds us that history was, while in the making, not nearly as foregone as it seems this far removed. Madison could have lost his election to the First session of the House of Representatives after the new government was formed causing the Constitution to perhaps lose the addition of the Bill of Rights and that would have been calamitous, indeed.

I enjoyed the story of Madison's road as told by Labunski. Madison has been one of those founders who's position as a great Founder has been rocky. Up one decade and down another. Sometimes he has been considered a far lesser light than he deserves to be considered. Currently, he seems to be up which is fortunate. I think he should remain there. He is by far one of the most brilliant Founders we had and it is good that Labunski treats Madison with the respect he deserves.

Here is where I feel the book was lacking, though. Why was the Bill of Rights so important? What were the philosophies, the influences, the reasons the amendments were fought over? Labunski does not take much time to delve further under the surface to ferret out those reasons. He briefly mentions things here and there as the book moves along those lines, but I think his book would have been more complete with a bit more of it.

I found myself wondering what all the fuss was over far too much while reading the book and feel Labunski shorted the reader a fuller explanation.

Still, I give the book a pretty good rating. It is a good tale that is not often told (which is why I think he should have gone deeper, by the way).

It come recommended by me, anyway. ( )
  WarnerToddHuston | Apr 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195181050, Hardcover)

Today we hold the Constitution in such high regard that we can hardly imagine how hotly contested was its adoption. In fact, many of the thirteen states saw fierce debate over the document, and ratification was by no means certain. Virginia, the largest and most influential state, approved the Constitution by the barest of margins, and only after an epic political battle between James Madison and Patrick Henry. Now Richard Labunski offers a dramatic account of a time when the entire American experiment hung in the balance, only to be saved by the most unlikely of heroes--the diminutive and exceedingly shy Madison.
Here is a vividly written account of not one but several major political struggles which changed the course of American history. Labunski takes us inside the sweltering converted theater in Richmond, where for three grueling weeks, the soft-spoken Madison and the charismatic Patrick Henry fought over whether Virginia should ratify the Constitution. The stakes were enormous. If Virginia voted no, George Washington could not become president, New York might follow suit and reject the Constitution, and the young nation would be thrust into political chaos. But Madison won the day by a handful of votes, mollifying Anti-Federalist fears by promising to add a bill of rights to the Constitution. To do this, Madison would have to win a seat in the First Congress. Labunski shows how the vengeful Henry prevented Madison's appointment to the Senate and then used his political power to ensure that Madison would run against his good friend, Revolutionary War hero James Monroe, in a House district teeming with political enemies. Overcoming great odds, Madison won by a few hundred votes, allowing him to attend the First Congress and sponsor the Bill of Rights.
Packed with colorful details about life in early America, this compelling and important narrative is the first serious book about Madison written in many years. It will return this under-appreciated patriot to his rightful place among the Founding Fathers and shed new light on a key turning point in our nation's history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:59 -0400)

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"This engaging study views the Bill of Rights as the crowning achievement of America's constitutional architect"--Publishers Weekly.

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