A Perfect Union

Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation
Author(s): Catherine Allgor
Original Publish Date: Apr 04, 2006
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (15.98 hours)
Product Number: Z100126433
Released: Jun 01, 2017
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781593979256
Narrator/s: Anne Twomey
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Please log in to view pricing


An extraordinary American comes to life in this vivid, incisive portrait of the early days of the republic—and the birth of modern politics hen the roar of the Revolution had finally died down, a new generation of American politicians was summoned to the Potomac to assemble the nation's newly minted capital. Into that unsteady atmosphere which would soon enough erupt into another conflict with Britain in 1812, Dolley Madison arrived, alongside her husband James. Within a few years, she had mastered both the social and political intricacies of the city, and, by her death in 1849, was the most celebrated person in Washington. And yet, to most Americans, she's best known for saving a portrait from the burning White House, or as the namesake for a line of ice cream. Why did the Americans of her time give so much adulation to a lady so little known today? In A Perfect Union, Catherine Allgor reveals that while Dolley's gender prevented her from openly playing politics, those very constraints of womanhood allowed her to construct an American democratic ruling style, and to achieve her husband's political goals. And the way that she did so—by emphasizing cooperation over coercion, building bridges instead of bunkers—has left us with not only an important story about our past but a model for a modern form of politics. Introducing a major new American historian, A Perfect Union is both an illuminating portrait of an unsung founder of our democracy, and a vivid account of a little-explored time in our history.

All formats/editions

Author(s): Catherine Allgor
Product Number EB00094581
Released: Oct 28, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN: #9781429900003

Professional reviews

"Most of us know Dolley Madison as the woman who saved the portrait of George Washington from the British in 1814, and as a brand of pastries. This is unfortunate, for Mrs. Madison may have been the most popular woman of her time. Dr. Allgor attempts to put Dolley in her proper place in American history in this detailed account of the early republic. Anne Twomey has a daunting task in narrating this long work. Her voice is soft and serene; she is clear with her enunciation and is by no means monotonous. Yet the softness of her performance makes it hard to pay attention for more than a short time. M.T.F. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine"

Sign up for our email newsletter