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Books with author Philip Bigler

  • Scandalous Son: The Elusive Search for Dolley Madison's Son, John Payne Todd

    Philip Bigler

    Paperback (Apple Ridge Publishers, June 28, 2015)
    John Payne Todd, Dolley Madison s only surviving offspring from her brief first marriage, would always be a privileged and spoiled child. His doting mother appeared oblivious to her son s many faults and may have even been guilty of enabling and encouraging them. In 1794, the recently widowed Dolley married James Madison. The 43-year old Virginia Congressman willingly served as a surrogate father to the boy and together they would forever refer to Payne as our son. It soon became apparent, though, that Todd could never live up to the Madison s high expectations and aspirations for him. Indeed, Payne was forced to bear the incredible burden of being the only direct heir of two of the seminal figures of the early American republic. It is small wonder that he was destined to disappoint. For too long, countless numbers of historians and Madison biographers have hastily dismissed Payne Todd as a pathetic alcoholic, a petulant ingrate, and a greedy opportunist. Although such assessments are not without a degree of merit, historian and National Teacher of the Year, Philip Bigler, persuasively argues that Payne Todd s entire life was instead a futile struggle to establish his own personal identity. Unfortunately, he was never able to escape the weighty shadow cast by the Madison s. Like many of the children of other great people, Payne would not fare well nor would he be afforded the luxury of private failure or personal anonymity. Compounding his difficulties was the fact that he had no brothers and sisters to help ameliorate his burden. He would die without redemption, acknowledging in the end that, I have always been my own worst enemy. Philip Bigler, who served as the director of the James Madison Center for nine years, brings his historical expertise and skill to Scandalous Son. The book is a fascinating parable about the dark side of the American dream an allegory of the rags-to-riches-to-rags phenomenon that has all too often plagued the heirs of the republic.
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of Honor, 1921-2021

    Philip Biglar

    Paperback (Apple Ridge, April 1, 2019)
    For over a century, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been America s most cherished and revered military shrine. The dramatic story of this magnificent monument is skillfully told by historian Philip Bigler, in his highly readable, narrative account: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of Honor, 1921-2021. In his book, Bigler chronicles the Tomb s history from its early inception after World War I through its formalization and beautification. The shrine s symbolism and continuing cultural importance are explained, while the subsequent interments of the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Unknowns are covered in detail and framed within the context and scope of the nation s history. Bigler spent over two years conducting extensive primary source research at the National Archives, the Eisenhower Library, the Library of Congress, the Commission of Fine Arts, as well as at other important historical repositories. From 1983 through 1985, Philip Bigler served as one of the official historians at Arlington National Cemetery. During his tenure, Bigler assisted with the burial of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier and worked on two visits by President Ronald Reagan. Among his many duties were document preservation, research, and public speaking. The historian s office also served as a liaison between Arlington and various veteran groups, news organizations, Congressional staff, and foreign embassies. Mr. Bigler returned to teaching in 1985 and taught history and humanities for 23 years in Montgomery, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia public schools. In 1998, he was named the National Teacher of the Year during a White House Rose Garden ceremony hosted by President Bill Clinton. He later served as an assistant professor and Director of the James Madison Center at James Madison University. A prolific writer and skilled educator, Bigler is the author of ten books, including the highly acclaimed In Honored Glory: Arlington National Cemetery, the Final Post. He has been a featured guest on Nightline with Ted Koppel and the Late Show with David Letterman and has provided historical commentary on the History Channel, CNN, CBS-Newsmark, and Fox News.