WCSU historian Gutzman weighs Madison’s legacy in new biography
Western historian Dr. Kevin R.C. Gutzman has earned an international reputation as a constitutional scholar unafraid of challenging popular assumptions about the origins and evolution of America’s founding document, and his new biography of James Madison demands a fresh examination of the fourth president’s role in the nation’s birth.
Gutzman’s work, “James Madison and the Making of America,” offers a rich exploration of Madison’s legacy, from his emergence as a young Virginian delegate leading the successful campaign for the commonwealth’s landmark Statute for Religious Freedom to his lasting influence as Federalist Papers author, congressional leader and president in the shaping of the young nation’s political institutions. The biography, which marks the fourth book on American and constitutional history authored by Gutzman, will be released by his publisher, St. Martin’s Press, on Feb. 14 and has been chosen as one of the main selections offered by the History Book Club in February.
Gutzman is the author of the New York Times best-seller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution,” as well as “Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840.” With Thomas Woods Jr., he coauthored “Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to Barack Obama.” He has lectured extensively on constitutional founding principles and contemporary issues, and his commentaries have appeared widely in the national broadcast and print media. He is a professor of history and non-Western cultures at Western, where his classes explore constitutional history and the history of the American Revolution, the early American republic and the American South.
Pulitizer Prize-winning author Daniel Walker Howe observed that Gutzman’s new book is “deeply rewarding for the serious reader who wants a detailed account of James Madison’s long public career.” Edward Lengel, editor-in-chief of “The Papers of George Washington” at the University of Virginia, remarked, “Gutzman’s beautifully written and insightful account promises to become the standard biography of the great Founding Father.”
After publishing several scholarly journal essays in recent years that went “100 percent contrary to the ‘accepted version’ of Madison,” Gutzman decided to take on the ambitious task of reevaluating the Founding Father’s historical and constitutional legacies in a comprehensive biography.