Who is James Madison?

James Madison: A Life From Beginning to End by a group called Hourly History presents a series of publications that present episodes and personalities in a proposed one hour read. This one has a subtitle One Hour History US Presidents Book 3. This seems perfect for my purposes as I seek material for English as Second Language learners. I looked at this work to determine what I believe the level of English required to read a non-fiction book in one hour.

To criticize a one-hour read for not presenting complete information that comes from deep research is ridiculous. The authors note that Madison’s thinking was influenced by “Enlightenment thinkers, philosophers such as John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, Thomas Hobbes, and Thomas Paine.” (p. 15). The book goes on to give a summary of the tenets of these philosophers in the following two pages. What can the reader get out of this? Do further reading; these authors have pointed the reader in the right direction.

Revisionist historians have criticized the group known as the Founding Fathers for owning slaves while at the same time struggling to create a country with maximum freedom for all individuals. This group of authors points out that what was true at the time should be viewed through the dynamic lens of history, not by the standards that have evolved to what we have today, standards that evolved from a base established by the Founders.

The content language of the book is written at junior high school to no higher than grade 10 level. I believe this is appropriate for English as a Second Language learner. The authors manage to deliver interesting content and facts at this language level. The Madison White House served ice cream at a time when there wasn’t refrigeration. Not an earth-shaking revelation, but interesting. Madison had his face on a USD 5000 bill. I didn’t know such a bill existed. Note: The past tense is appropriate here, the bill has been discontinued, at least up to now.

Readers can skip to page 42 of this 50-page book to a section titled Notable Facts About James Madison to find a bunch of material that can be tailored for great one-liners in a trivia contest.

Overall, this book is good value for the money if you have Kindle Unlimited. I find a purchase price of USD 2.99 a bit steep for a fifty-page book.

Leave a Reply