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Douglas BrinkleyWaking Giant is an intellectual history and group portrait of America turning from a republic to a popular democracy during the Age of Jackson. While Reynolds also grapples with Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine, abolitionism and European immigration with consummate skill, it's his depiction of an exploding popular culture that makes Waking Giant an unmitigated delight. The reader meets Transcendentalists promoting anarchic individualism, Mormons finding God's tablets and Mesmerists time-traveling. And it was Old Hickory who produced the now-familiar notion that charisma and log-cabin imagery are vital factors in a U.S. presidential election.
—The Washington Post