The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President

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Product Details

$25.00  $23.25
Picador USA
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.4 inches | 1.42 pounds

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About the Author

Noah Feldman is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University as well as a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a contributing writer for Bloomberg Opinion, host of the podcast Deep Background, and the author of Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices as well as Cool War: The Future of Global Competition, among other books.


"Illuminating and absorbing . . . [Noah] Feldman's deeply thoughtful study shows that the three identities of James Madison constituted one exceptional life, which effectively mirrored the evolving identity of the American republic in its most formative phase. In Feldman's capable hands, Madison becomes the original embodiment of our 'living Constitution.'"--Susan Dunn, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] refreshingly circumspect biography . . . Feldman offers fresh insight into a man who played an outsized role in our nation's founding as well as a lucid account of the history of those years." --Justice John Paul Stevens (Ret.), Michigan Law Review

"Grand . . . Feldman is a very accessible and quietly stylish writer, and his approach to his subject is a fresh one."--Esquire

"Groundbreaking . . . The Three Lives of James Madison studies all the aspects of Madison's complicated public career, as both the main author of the Constitution to the country's first wartime president to the co-founder of the Democratic-Republican Party . . . [Feldman is] uniformly excellent on Madison the political creature, which can't help but resonate with the present day . . . [A] superb account."--Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor

"Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, has written . . . a palliative for the age of Trump that never names the current president, as told through the political evolution of an important weirdo whose constant recalibrations enabled him, with increasing success, to fight epic battles with his own, founding era 'haters and losers' . . . At once subtle and candid . . . [this book's] timely message is actually evergreen: the extreme partisanship that leaves us in varying states of frustration, alarm, and paranoia has always been a condition of the American experiment." --Alexis Coe, The New Yorker

"A welcome addition to Madison scholarship. Feldman's writing is crisp, his organization is sound, and his analysis is first-rate. He is an obvious admirer of his subject, but his work never lapses into hagiography." --Jay Cost, National Review

"James Madison was instrumental in framing the constitutional government that serves the American people today . . . This is an insightful examination on how theories and ideals are applied and changed by real-life circumstances."--Library Journal

"The most stimulating political book that I have read in as long as I can remember. Madison was a young genius obsessed with the idea of constitution-making and government structure and who, in his early twenties, started designing the American government. Almost every debate we're having now about politics comes back in some way or another to Madison's vision and the questions Madison was thinking about in the 1770s and 1780s . . . Madison was way more important to our country than Hamilton was."--Jacob Weisberg, editor in chief of The Slate Group and author of The Bush Tragedy

"Feldman brings a scholarly rigor and a gift for narrative to this impressive account of the sprawling--and often perplexing--life of James Madison."--Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

"Feldman gives us a rich portrait of our fourth president in all his many aspects: constitution maker, politician, partisan, friend, slaveholder, husband, president, and elder statesman. The result is a fresh, bold, and much-needed look at a pivotal figure in American and, therefore, world history."--Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

"Feldman, combining laudable scholarship with delightful writing, does a brilliant job of showing how Madison's precise and reasoned mind, along with his personal friendships and rivalries, created our code as a nation."--Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci

"Feldman skillfully explains the evolving genius of Madison with precision and clarity. The result is a narrative both epic in scope and intimate in detail."--David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, authors of Washington's Circle: The Creation of the President