Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times Kindle Edition
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- Length: 656 pages
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
- Page Flip: Enabled
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In this, the first major single-volume biography of Andrew Jackson in decades, H.W. Brands reshapes our understanding of this fascinating man, and of the Age of Democracy that he ushered in.
An orphan at a young age and without formal education or the family lineage of the Founding Fathers, Jackson showed that the presidency was not the exclusive province of the wealthy and the well-born but could truly be held by a man of the people. On a majestic, sweeping scale Brands re-creates Jackson’s rise from his hardscrabble roots to his days as frontier lawyer, then on to his heroic victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and finally to the White House. Capturing Jackson’s outsized life and deep impact on American history, Brands also explores his controversial actions, from his unapologetic expansionism to the disgraceful Trail of Tears. This is a thrilling portrait, in full, of the president who defined American democracy.
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“Jackson was an American original, a wholly fascinating figure whom H. W. Brands brings to life in a big, rich biography. . . .Brands weaves together keen political history with anecdote and marvelous sense of place to produce a vivid tableau.” —The Boston Globe
“A great story. . . . Serves up everything you might expect in a ripping yarn: murderous duels, savage Indian raids, equally savage counterattacks.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Highly readable and entertaining. . . . [Brands] presents Jackson, warts and all, as the fascinating and exceedingly real character that he was and lets the man emerge from behind the image to stand on his own.” —Dallas Morning News
“Revealing. . . . A masterful, detailed account of Jackson's life and his contributions to the nation. Thoroughly researched and thoughtfully told.” —The Oregonian
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
H. W. BRANDS holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and Traitor to His Class.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B000MAH5K6
- Publisher : Anchor (October 10, 2006)
- Publication date : October 10, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 4621 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 656 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #247,843 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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If you’re like me, you’ve probably sat through countless, idiotic meetings at your place of business because you were required to do so. Quite often, these asinine gatherings were led by the leader of your organization. Had Andrew Jackson been alive and worked for 21st century Corporate America, he would probably stand right up in the middle of one of these meetings and walked out the door. If the CEO asked him why he was doing so, he would probably look them right in the eye and say something like “Because, sir/madam, you are one of the most boring human beings on the planet and are wasting my valuable time.”
This man did not suffer fools gladly. He was definitely one of the most colorful presidents our nation has ever had, and it’s always quite a nice change to read about a president who never really wanted to be <president. Such creatures are rare. This was a man who had a very rough life. His parents, who were always struggling, moved to the frontier (now Tennessee) to try to make a living and yet both died leaving Andrew Jackson as a young orphan. From there, he plowed on doing anything he could do to survive.
Although known as the hero for the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, Jackson’s military career was quite limited. The battle was a whopper, though, and he quickly becomes a national hero. Jackson (so he says) never wants to be President, but war heroes have a way of garnishing attention. He’s happy to oblige the will of the people, so he serves two terms as President before retiring to his native Tennessee.
This is the second biography I’ve read by H.W. Brands, and he’s slowly becoming one of my favorite biographers. He manages to keep his readers interested without a lot of bloated jargon and keeps the narrative going in a quick, yet leisurely fashion. I never felt bogged down by the details. Brands also understands that many of his readers may be unfamiliar with many of the current events, so he also carefully gives his readers helpful background information surrounding many of the events. Example: One thing we read about a lot in this book is the practice of “dueling” – you know, when two men stand back to back, take ten paces, and then turn around and shoot. Well, Jackson participated in many of these events as did others close to him, so H.W. Brands spends just the right amount of time giving his reader a primer on some of the lesser known aspects of the practice.
Currently, Andrew Jackson seems to receive quite a bit of heat because of his outdated racist beliefs (I believe he will shortly be taken off the face of the $20 bill). We must remember, however, that these views were quite common because of people’s surroundings. Perhaps the author gives him too much leeway, but Jackson didn’t come across as particularly harsh when compared to many of his contemporaries. Other than John Quincy Adams (the man who Jackson succeeded as President), you rarely find people that had acceptable attitudes towards race and gender equality up until the late 20th century.
I learned a lot from this book. I liked the man’s attitude, his unwavering stances, and his determination to do whatever it took for his young country to succeed and stay on track. I also found it quite interesting that partisan politics is definitely something that is not new. Despite what many people will tell you, our country isn’t really getting “worse” when it comes to arguing politics. You see this behavior just as fervent in Jackson’s day. It’s just that people didn’t have twitter accounts nor the ability to generate hateful memes to distribute across the virtual galaxy in a matter of minutes.
I sure would like to see someone like this as President again – someone that truly doesn’t want the job, but the majority of people convince him/her that their country needs them.
As many already know, Brands is a terrific writer. The book flows smoothly, details are spelled out with just the right balance of narrative and quotes, and the pace is never too slow or too fast. Brands gives us the Andrew Jackson that people both loved and detested. I highly recommend this portrait of a man who changed America, for better and for worse.
Top reviews from other countries
My grumble is that having been thorough about his upbringing, I felt that the details about his presidency were less fulfillingly detailed, at least to my mind. It read more as a list of escapades that Jackson got involved in.
The Jon Meacham biography of Jackson only covers Jackson's Presidency, but felt more focused, because of the limits that Meacham had imposed. That made Jackson's Presidential years feel more thoroughly covered.
So in short, I would recommend this book, but I suspect it would read better if read in conjunction with the Meacham book.
It puts Jackson's life in the wider context of the history of the United States and charts the unlikely rise of this most extraordinary character from an orphan without any formal education, to a much feted military hero and ultimately, to President.
Overall, an excellent biography.
However, he was a brute, a fierce individual whose only response to any percieved challenge was violence. Thoughout his life, he associated himself with cruel individuals, men like Roger Taney, the man responsible for the Dred Scott decision. A slaveholder and trader, a duelist, a murderer, a deporter of Indians, nothing was too harsh for Jackson to reach his goal.
His mission in life was to preverve the Union, at all cost. Even more so when the cost was carried and assumed by others. Jackson died when Texas was finally annexed by Polk. The result was the 1850 Compromise, and ultimatly, the long-overdue Civil War. He did died at the right time, because he was spared the most difficult decision he would ever have made.
The Union, or slavery?
You know the answer as well as I do.