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Jackson

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In Jackson, Max Byrd has re-created the life and times of this powerful, controversial, and contradictory man from a variety of viewpoints, including an unfinished and uncomplimentary biography of the General, a remembrance by his closest personal aide and confidant, and the research of a young writer named David Chase. Chase knows very well that his biography could ruin Jackson's chances in the upcoming presidential election. Still, he is determined to write the first unbiased account of the General's life. Was ...
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New hardcover with DJ. SIGNED BY MAX BYRD. An unblemished copy.

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Overview

In Jackson, Max Byrd has re-created the life and times of this powerful, controversial, and contradictory man from a variety of viewpoints, including an unfinished and uncomplimentary biography of the General, a remembrance by his closest personal aide and confidant, and the research of a young writer named David Chase. Chase knows very well that his biography could ruin Jackson's chances in the upcoming presidential election. Still, he is determined to write the first unbiased account of the General's life. Was Jackson really a charismatic demagogue, a crude backwoods barbarian, a representative of the decline of American democracy? Or was there something more behind the public image of war hero, campaign buttons, and emotionally charged rhetoric? What Chase finds is a man even more contradictory than the rumors told about him: a Jackson both savagely honest and politically cunning, a self-made man who always longed to belong, an orphaned boy who grew up with an untamed fury for respect and honor, a man as tough as the Tennessee wilderness from which he came. While researching his subject, Chase falls under the spell of the captivating Emma Colden, companion of a powerful senator and an ardent supporter of reform and women's rights, and comes across a secret that could change the future of America ... as well as his own. On the eve of the presidential election, Chase must choose between truth and compassion.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Adultery, murder, conspiracy and land fraud are the scandals laid at the feet of Andrew Jackson in 1828 as he runs for president against John Quincy Adams. Byrd's second historical novel (after Jefferson) presents the adult life of Old Hickory as seen through the astute eyes of a young and hungry writer, David Chase, who is commissioned by an anti-Jackson partisan to write a book that will expose the candidate's stained personal, professional and political life. Eventually, a clear picture emerges of the man who would become the seventh president: coarse, hot-tempered, politically radical, a brawler, a war hero, a devoted husband and a very sharp politician. Slogging through the muck of political skullduggery and the barnyard intrigues of early Washington, D.C., Chase learns the truth of Jackson's rumored adultery, his famous and bloody duels and his involvement with Aaron Burr's wild plot to establish an empire. Finally, Chase falls under the spell of this charismatic man, and so is faced with any journalist's greatest dilemma. Young America comes alive here through a cast of famous players including Jackson, his confidant John Coffee, Burr, Henry Clay, Sam Houston, John C. Calhoun and others. Deftly balancing fact and fiction, Byrd invests his tale with color, emotion and grand historical drama. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This work is a well-written biography within a fairly well-written novel. The novel segment opens in 1828 as Andrew Jackson is making his second run for the presidency. David Chase has been commissioned by a William Short to write a "true" biography of Old Hickory. Many biographies have been written of Andy Jackson, and all are flattering. This is not what the John Q. Adams people want, however. Chase is supposed to tell about all the men Jackson has murdered in duels and how he stole his wife, Rachel, away from her husband and lived in sin with her for two and a half years. Chase was to report on Jackson's rages, how others ridiculed his bad grammar and spelling, and how his minions rewrite all his speeches, letters, and memos. But as Chase researches and writes about Jackson, a flawed hero emerges. It comes down to whether the aristocracy of New England and Virginia will continue to rule the new country or yield to a man of the common folk. This book is for everyone, whether student of history or not, for its wonderful insights into the people and times of our infant republic.-Dawn Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex.
Kirkus Reviews
In some ways a sequel to his well-researched Jefferson (1993), Byrd's latest is a superior novel to that earlier effort—lusty and lively in its view of the American political scene, circa 1828, yet also keenly aware of the underlying issues gripping the nation as it expanded westward.

As Andrew Jackson squares off against incumbent President John Quincy Adams, having won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in 1824, the split between eastern elitism and western democracy seems more pronounced than ever. David Chase, a young expatriate writer, has been lured from Paris to Boston with a tempting commission to do an "honest" biography of Jackson, although the anti-Jackson sentiments of his patron are no secret. Chase visits Washington to seek sources for his book and to meet Hogwood, his predecessor, whose infirmity has cost him the project Chase now pursues. Sucked into the whirl of life in the capital, befriended by the president's dissolute son Charles, smitten with Hogwood's lovely daughter Emma, Chase can't seem to put pen to paper before his patron comes to town and puts him on the stage to Nashville: Jackson country. There, he meets Old Hickory, whose right-hand man allows him to become part of Jackson's entourage, until a long-kept secret about certain youthful, adulterous indiscretions by the candidate's wife threatens to come to the surface. Since the indiscretions involve the brother of Chase's patron, the writer instantly becomes persona non grata; but, left to his own devices, he tracks down the letters that will undo Jackson—and then has to make the painful decision about whether to use them.

Jackson proves less a figure than a figurehead here, while fictional characters are given the run of the story, which may disappoint historical purists. But the zeitgeist is embodied to perfection, and the result is a truly, and substantially, entertaining tale.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553096323
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/3/1997
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.63 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.44 (d)

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