Our nation’s capital doesn’t have a Madison memorial, but Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, two Louisiana State University historians, argue in MADISON AND JEFFERSON (Random House, $35) that James Madison has never received the recognition in American history that he deserves; hence, the primacy of his name in the book’s title. These two men, the fourth and third presidents of the United States, partners in an informal political alliance that lasted 50 years, were highly successful political operatives who frequently employed hardball tactics in the ruthless climate of the early republic. Both men, products of the Virginia gentry, never forgot their need for support from their political base at home. Burstein and Isenberg have written a colorful and highly readable account of this period of American history in which the American republic was conceived and born.
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