Today we hold the Constitution in such high regard that we can hardly imagine how hotly contested was its adoption. 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 James 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. 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, which he did by a tiny margin, 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
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"Shy, sickly, unprepossessing, and very young at the time, future President James Madison played a crucial role in shaping the American Constitution, which he advocated, and framing the Bill of Rights, which he initially opposed. This book exhaustively details the ideas, politics, and personalities that led to the adoption of the first 10 amendments and how Madison influenced them. The author apparently intends his 336 fact-filled pages for those wishing to drench themselves in the subject. With his clarion newscaster's voice, reliable Richard Poe protects the 11-plus-hour exegesis from dryness. His excellent phrasing provides additional clarity to an already-accessible text. Y.R. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine"
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