“A vivid account of Madison’s energetic efforts…Cost’s book deserves high marks as a skillful study of an iconic historical figure.”
"In this profound and clarifying biography, Jay Cost shows how some familiar Madisonian contradictions can be reconciled by grasping that James Madison’s practice of politics was devoted to the same great cause as his theories of politics: the challenge of reconciling differences in a diverse republic. That is very much our challenge now, and this is a book with much to teach today’s America."—Yuval Levin, author of A Time to Build
Jay Cost, whose University of Chicago PhD in political philosophy has been supplemented by years of close attention to Washington politics, is the perfect person to decipher Madison’s long career in the public arena. It involved many supposed, but few actual, contradictions. The most intellectually supple and sophisticated of the Founders, Madison exemplified, more than any major political thinker ever has, the unity of theory and practice: His political thinking informed his political vocation, which required continuous accommodation of principles to realities.—George F. Will, author of The Conservative Sensibility
“An exciting new examination of the life and work of James Madison. Politicians are often maligned, but Jay Cost shows how Madison’s celebrated role as a constitutional founder was an extension of his larger career as a politician and a life spent trying to make the republican experiment in self-government work.”—Keith E. Whittington, author of Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present.
“Historians have long characterized Madison as waffling or inconsistent—sometimes postulating multiple Madisons. Without sugarcoating, Jay Cost gives us a ‘single’ unified Madison who was the ‘Republican’ mean between Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian extremes—or, as Cost puts it, 'the first great American politician.' Madison fans and detractors alike will enjoy this riveting overview of his life and amazing career.”—Randy E. Barnett, Professor, Georgetown Law, and author of Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People