James & Dolley: America's First Power Couple

Prometheus. 2014. 450p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616148355. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616148362. BIOG
Prolific author Chadwick (Lincoln for President) has produced a political, social, and military history of James (1751–1836) and Dolley (1768–1849) Madison's time leading up to and following James's presidency (1809–17). He makes an effective argument that James's relationship with his wife made him a more effective politician and certainly a more popular one. This book covers the Madison presidency from a more personal angle, giving perspectives from many letter collections and diaries and highlighting the dynamic social circles that influenced both Dolley and James.
VERDICT While it is certainly well researched with almost a thousand footnotes, this work jumps around chronologically, which may bother some readers. If you enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, however, this will be a fun read. Scholars of early American history will find this book worthwhile.
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