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A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson

Overview

The forty-year love affair between Rachel and Andrew Jackson parallels a tumultuous period in American history. Andrew Jackson was at the forefront of the American revolution—but he never could have made it without the support of his wife. Beautiful, charismatic, and generous, Rachel Jackson had the courage to go against the mores of her times in the name of love. As the wife of a great general in wartime, she often found herself running their plantation alone and, a true heroine, she took in and raised children ...

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A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson

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Overview

The forty-year love affair between Rachel and Andrew Jackson parallels a tumultuous period in American history. Andrew Jackson was at the forefront of the American revolution—but he never could have made it without the support of his wife. Beautiful, charismatic, and generous, Rachel Jackson had the courage to go against the mores of her times in the name of love. As the wife of a great general in wartime, she often found herself running their plantation alone and, a true heroine, she took in and raised children orphaned by the war. Like many great love stories, this one ends tragically when Rachel dies only a few weeks after Andrew is elected president. He moved into the White House alone and never remarried. Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s devotion to one another is inspiring, and here, in Patricia Brady’s vivid prose, their story of love and loss comes to life for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Brady (former director of publications, Historic New Orleans; Martha Washington: An American Life) interweaves a tri-fold story: a loving romance, the history of the fledging United States, and a not-so-new tale of dirty politics. Rachel Donelson married, for a brief time, the jealous and abusive Lewis Robards. The confused circumstances of their divorce and Rachel's subsequent courtship with and marriage to Andrew Jackson would haunt Rachel and Andrew for the rest of their lives. Rachel had happily married Jackson, though he was not her social or economic equal. He won her heart with his charismatic presence and resolute personality. By the time their partnership led to the White House, he was a widower: Rachel died between his election and inauguration. Rachel Jackson emerges here as a gracious, kind, and remarkable woman whose life was shortened by the stress of the public bull's-eye with its unremitting attacks on her character. VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers; skill and scholarship for general readers are at their best here as Brady tells a remarkable story of an enduring and touching relationship.—Nancy Richey, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green
Kirkus Reviews

A scandalous marriage proves Old Hickory's political scourge and emotional rock in this uncomplicated, accessible biography of the Jacksons.

Rachel Donelson and her family were early settlers to the newly opened-up frontier of Tennessee, then Kentucky, purchasing a large tract of land near Harrodsburg. Her early marriage to Capt. Lewis Robards in 1785 swiftly turned sour. Rachel was "a girl of spirit," writes New Orleans–based historian Brady (Martha Washington: An American Life, 2005, etc.), and her new husband was jealous. A few years into her marriage, Rachel met Andrew Jackson, a fledgling lawyer from North Carolina who had gone West like many other brash, determined young men seeking their fortune. The couple eloped to Natchez, Miss., where they claimed to be married—yet Rachel was not yet divorced. This obfuscation would haunt Jackson's career, especially when he ran for president in 1824. However, it was by all accounts a sweet match, as Brady demonstrates through Jackson's ardent letters dispatched during his frequent absences from his wife. He moved from being attorney to attorney general, Tennessee state delegate, congressman, senator and governor of Florida, all while Rachel was largely left alone to run the house and farm. As Jackson's star rose in the military, Rachel remained childless, stout, Presbyterian and capable, fond of smoking her pipe and supervising their growing homestead near Nashville, christened the Hermitage, for the next 17 years. Despite his reputation for violence, dueling and Wild West expansionism, Jackson was a great favorite of the public, and while he narrowly lost the 1824 election to John Quincy Adams, he gained the White House four years later. Rachel, sadly, would not live long enough to attend his inauguration.

Brady's melodious account rarely digs beneath the official line in the lives of these two strong characters.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230609501
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 410,078
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Brady is a social and cultural historian who served as director of publications at the Historic New Orleans Collection for twenty years. Her books include Martha Washington: An American Life  and George Washington’s Beautiful Nelly. She lives in New Orleans.

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