Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

by H. W. Brands


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National Bestseller 

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400030729
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 299,886
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt



The struggle for North America began long before Andrew Jackson was born. Like similar struggles on all the inhabited continents, it ran back millennia, perhaps to the moment humans first found their way across the Arctic plain from Asia. Oral tradition and archaeological evidence indicate that conflict was a regular feature of life among the North Americans. They fought for forests where the game was most abundant, for rivers where the fish were thickest, for bottomlands where their corn and beans and squashes grew most readily. Great warriors were the heroes of their tribes, emulated by other men, sought by women, hallowed in memory. Strong tribes expanded their territories, driving the weak to less-favored regions and sometimes to extinction. Diplomacy complemented military force: the Iroquois confederation made that alliance a terror to its neighbors.

The arrival of the Europeans added new elements to the competition. These far-easterners possessed weapons the aboriginals hadn't seen: steel knives, swords, and axes; muskets and rifles; cannon. But their most potent agents of conquest were ones neither they nor their victims understood: the pathogens to which long exposure had inured the Europeans but that devastated the native Americans. In many instances the novel diseases raced ahead of European settlers, who arrived to discover human deserts and concluded that the Christian God in his wisdom and power had prepared the way for their colonies.

But the diseases didn't kill all the Indians. Those who survived often welcomed the interlopers, at least at first. Especially after smallpox and the other epidemics killed as many as three-fourths of the members of the afflicted tribes, there seemed room enough for all. And the newcomers' traders brought goods the natives quickly learned to value: iron pots, which bested clay for durability; steel blades, which held an edge longer than flint or obsidian; rifles, which felled game at distances arrows couldn't reach and gave their possessors an advantage in battle over tribes that lacked them. Some purists among the Indians rejected everything European, but most of the natives adapted happily to the improved lifestyle the new technology brought.

In time, however, the palefaces got pushy. Their farmers followed the traders and expropriated Indian land. This was when the real struggle started. In New England in the 1670s a coalition led by a chief the English called King Philip contested the advancing settlement by destroying several towns and killing the inhabitants. The English fought back, with the help of Indians holding a grudge against Philip's group, and eventually won. Philip was beheaded and his captured followers enslaved.

The Indians' resistance grew more sophisticated. They discovered that the Europeans belonged to more than one tribe, with the French as hostile to the English as either were to any of the Indians. Some Indians sided with the French, others with the English, and when the French and English went to war—as they did once a generation—the various Indian tribes exploited the opportunities to their own advantage. The largest of the conflicts (called the French and Indian War by the English in America) began in 1754 and inspired the Delawares and Shawnees, allies of France, to try to drive the English away from the frontier. To this end they launched a campaign of terror against British settlements in the Ohio Valley. The terror began successfully and over three years threatened to throw the English all the way back to the coast. But British victories in Canada and elsewhere weakened the French and emboldened Britain's own allies, including the Iroquois, and when the war ended in 1763 the French surrendered all their North American territories.

This was good news for Britain's American subjects but bad news for nearly all the Indians of the frontier, including Britain's allies. As long as the British and French had vied for control in America, each had to bid for the support of the Indians, who learned to play the Europeans against one another. With the French departure the bidding ended and the Indians were left to confront British power alone.

The Ottawa chief Pontiac was among the first to appreciate the new state of affairs. The Ottawas had long been rivals of the Iroquois and were recently allies of the French. For both reasons they fought against the British in the French and Indian War. When that war ended in French defeat, Pontiac saw disaster looming for the Ottawas—and for Indians generally. A tall, powerful warrior with a striking mien, he was also a charismatic political leader and an adroit diplomat. The fighting between Britain and France had hardly ceased before he welded together a coalition of tribes dedicated to expelling the British from the interior of the continent. Pontiac's forces besieged Fort Detroit above Lake Erie during the spring of 1763. From there the offensive spread north and east along the Great Lakes and south into the Ohio Valley. One British garrison after another was surrounded and destroyed. As this was a psychological offensive as much as a military one, the methods of destruction often included the most gruesome treatment of those soldiers, traders, and dependents who fell into the attackers' hands.

The assault on a British fort at Mackinac showed the swiftness with which the Indians commenced their attacks and the brutality with which they completed them. Pontiac's campaign was spreading faster than the news of it, and the troops and traders at Mackinac knew of no reason to fear the large group of Ojibwas who approached the fort in amicable fashion and commenced a game of lacrosse immediately beneath the walls. The British came out to watch, as they did on such occasions. The intensity of the game mounted, until one of the players threw the ball close to the gate. The laughing, cheering spectators took no alarm when both teams tore after it. But then the players dropped their lacrosse sticks, snatched war axes from under the robes of their women, and rushed through the unguarded gate. The surprise was total and the carnage almost equally so. A trader named Alexander Henry, who managed to hide in a storage closet, left a chilling account:

Through an aperture, which afforded me a view of the area of the fort, I beheld, in shapes the foulest and most terrible, the ferocious triumphs of barbarian conquerors. The dead were scalped and mangled; the dying were writhing and shrieking under the unsatiated knife and tomahawk; and from the bodies of some, ripped open, their butchers were drinking the blood, scooped up in the hollow of joined hands, and quaffed amid shouts of rage and victory.

The story was much the same all along the frontier. The offensive continued to outrace reports of it, and in many cases the first intimation the English settlers and soldiers had of trouble was the arrival of war parties. One by one the garrisons fell, until Pontiac and his allies controlled the entire region west of Fort Pitt, at the forks of the Ohio. Isolated frontier settlements were even more vulnerable and the destruction was commensurately greater. Some two thousand settlers were killed, and about four hundred soldiers. Many others were taken hostage. Those who survived the attacks and evaded capture fled east, bearing tales of calamity and horror.

The British commander in North America, Jeffrey Amherst, a large man with a big nose and a deeply held conviction that his talents were being wasted in the colonies, received the news of the western disaster at his headquarters in New York. Although the reports shocked him, he wasn't surprised at the behavior of the Indians, whom he considered savages beneath regard by civilized men. This attitude was common among the British, and it had helped trigger the current uprising. (By contrast, the French, whose imperial policy relied less on displacing the Indians than on trading with them, developed a more sophisticated view of the indigenes.) Amherst terminated the practice of sending gifts to Britain's Indian allies, and he curtailed the trade in guns and ammunition. He judged that though the Indians had been useful against the French, now that the French were vanquished it was time to make the Indians understand who the true rulers of North America were.

While Amherst had to respect the fighting ability of the Indians, he blamed incompetence among his subordinates for the success of Pontiac's offensive. Upon receiving a report of a massacre of the British garrison at Presque Isle, which followed the fort's surrender by its commanding officer, he could hardly contain his anger. "It is amazing that an officer could put so much faith in the promises of the Indians as to capitulate with them, when there are so many recent instances of their never failing to massacre the people whom they can persuade to put themselves in their power," he wrote in his journal. "The officer and garrison would have had a much better chance for their lives if they had defended themselves to the last, and if not relieved, they had confided to a retreat through the woods or got off in a boat in the night. These people are undoubtedly murdered unless the Indians may have feared to do it lest we may retaliate. There is absolutely nothing but fear of us that can hinder them from committing all the cruelties in their power."

Amherst determined to answer the terror of the Indians with terror of his own. Knowing that the Indians rightly feared the white men's diseases more than anything else about the Europeans, he directed Henry Bouquet, the commander of the western district, to launch a campaign of biological warfare. "Could it not be contrived to send the smallpox among the disaffected tribes of Indians?" Amherst inquired. "We must on this occasion use every stratagem in our power to reduce them."

Bouquet responded at once. Some of his own troops were suffering from smallpox; he proposed to take blankets from the sick men and distribute them among the Indians. "I will try to inoculate the ——— with some blankets that may fall in their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself," he told Amherst. (Whether discretion caused him not to identify the targets or he hadn't decided which Indians to infect is unclear.)

Amherst approved the plan. "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race," he said.

Bouquet distributed the blankets. By the time he did, they may have proved redundant, as the smallpox had already jumped from the whites in the area to the Indians. Yet the outcome was certainly what Bouquet and Amherst desired. "The smallpox has been very general and raging among the Indians since last spring," an observer wrote several months later. A subordinate of Bouquet—who, unlike his commander, wasn't beyond pity—reported from the front, "The poor rascals are dying very fast with the smallpox; they can make but little resistance and when routed from their settlements must perish in great numbers by the disorders."

Aided by the epidemic, the British managed to roll back the Indian advances. Bouquet battered an Indian army at Bushy Run near Fort Pitt, and he sent his troops to burn Indian villages and drive off their inhabitants, many of whom then perished of hunger and disease. The villages were always the weak spot of Indians, for although Indian warriors were masters at raiding garrisons and terrorizing settlers, they lacked the numbers and firepower to defend their own women and children against British counterattack. In the face of Bouquet's scorched-earth strategy, Pontiac's allies fell away band by band and tribe by tribe, to make peace with the British.

Yet the outcome was far from an undiluted victory for British arms. To entice Pontiac's allies to the peace table, the British government recalled Amherst and repealed most of the measures the Indians resented. As a result, it wasn't hard for many of the Indians to conclude that, in dealing with the Europeans, war worked. (For Pontiac personally, the failure to drive the British from the Ohio marked a defeat from which he never recovered. His fellow Ottawas turned to others for leadership, and the younger warriors derided the old man as a relic of the past. In 1769 he was fatally stabbed by a Peoria Indian at a trading post on the Mississippi River. None of the Ottawas, not even his own sons, lifted a finger to avenge him.)

The lesson American colonists drew from Pontiac's War was similar in content to that drawn by the Indians but altogether different in tone. The uprising had sent shudders all along the American backcountry, from New York to Georgia. In every community that lived within sight or consciousness of the great forest that stretched away to the west, the reports of the Indian atrocities—with the torture of prisoners and the mutilation and cannibalism of the murdered recounted in excruciating detail—caused hearts to clutch and eyes to examine every grove of trees for signs of the enemy's approach. The flood of refugees from the war provided additional evidence of the scope and meaning of the Indian uprising. An inhabitant of Frederick, Maryland, noted, "Every day, for some time past, has offered the melancholy scene of poor distressed families driving downwards through this town with their effects, who have deserted their plantations for fear of falling into the cruel hands of our savage enemies, now daily seen in the woods." A witness in Winchester, Virginia, explained, "Near 500 families have run away within this week. I assure you it was a most melancholy sight to see such numbers of poor people, who had abandoned their settlements in such consternation and hurry that they had hardly anything with them but their children. And what is still worse, I dare say there is not money enough amongst the whole families to maintain a fifth part of them till the fall; and none of the poor creatures can get a hovel to shelter them from the weather, but lie about scattered in the woods."

For the refugees, and for the many more who held on to their homes but watched their cold, hungry compatriots stream by, the outcome of Pontiac's War was decidedly unsatisfactory. Except for the traders, who required the Indians as customers, nearly all the Americans who lived anywhere near the frontier considered the Indians an existential danger. Few would have mourned had every one of the natives fallen victim to British arms or European disease. And when the post-Pontiac settlement essentially restored the status quo, the Americans once more saw the tomahawk hanging over their heads.

Among those who fought against Pontiac were members of a peculiar tribe with origins in the foggy North Atlantic. During the first decade of the seventeenth century—at the same time as the founding in America of English Jamestown and French Quebec—King James of England and Scotland planted a colony of English and Scots in the north of Ireland. The purpose of the Ulster plantation was to subdue the unruly Irish, who were considered by the English to be fully as savage as the Indian tribes of North America. So refractory were they that few Englishmen accepted James's invitation to emigrate to Ulster, leaving it to the Scots to claim the Irish territory James opened to them. Nor were these just any Scots, but bands of Lowlanders who had fought for centuries against rival tribesman—or clansmen—of the Scottish Highlands. The centuries of battle had forged a character equal to almost any challenge requiring courage and determination. As one Scotsman explained, "When I do consider with myself what things are necessary for a plantation, I cannot but be confident that my own countrymen are as fit for such a purpose as any men in the world, having daring minds that upon any probable appearance do despise danger, and bodies able to endure as much as the height of their minds can undertake." Another Scotsman, perhaps more candid, characterized those who accepted James's offer rather differently: "Albeit amongst these Divine Providence sent over some worthy persons for birth, education and parts, yet the most part were such as either poverty, scandalous lives, or, at the best, adventurous seeking of better accommodation, set forward that way."

Table of Contents

Child of the Revolution (1976-1805)
1The Prize3
2I Could Have Shot Him29
4Away West63
5Shadowed Love85
6Republicans and Revolutionaries100
7Fighting Words127
8Rendering Judgment148
Son of the West (1805-1814)
10Affair of Honor201
11All Must Feel the Injuries216
12Master and Slaves229
13Nor Infamy upon Us240
14Native Genius256
15Old Hickory271
16Sharp Knife293
17The River of Blood320
American Hero (1814-1821)
18Peace Giver351
19The Spanish Front368
20Pirates and Patriots389
21Day of Deliverance411
22The Second Washington444
23East by Southwest468
24Party and Politics487
25Judge and Executioner502
26The Eye of the Storm517
The People's President (1821-1837)
29The Death Rattle of the Old Regime586
30Democracy Triumphant607
31Democracy Rampant634
32Spoils of Victory645
33Tools of Wickedness656
34Jacksonian Theory671
35False Colors683
36Attack and Counterattack708
37Or Die with the Union735
38Justice Marshall for the Defense751
39Wealth versus Commonwealth768
40An Old Friend and a New Frontier786
Patriarch of Democracy (1837-1845)
41The Home Front823
42To the Ramparts Once More841
43The Soul of the Republic860
Annotated Bibliography951

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Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brands has written a one of a kind historical account of a highly under rated American hero. This comprehensive memoir reveals the character of a true American patriot who often placed his life and honor on the line in order to preserve his steadfast democratic beliefs. For any historical fanatic this biography is a winner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up within 50 miles of The Hermitage, and I had a reasonable high school and undergraduate education, but I had never realized the magnitude of Jackson's stature among our Presidents and military leaders -- the extent to which his personal conduct was important in saving the Union and in the country's development. I had never read anything by Brands before, but I found his work equally readable with Joseph J. Ellis and David McCullough. If you read and liked 'Founding Brothers', 'American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson', 'His Excellency: George Washington', 'John Adams', and '1776', you'll also enjoy 'Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times.' This book is truly an outstanding piece of work, and a very easy and enjoyable read.
The_PLSC_Hammer More than 1 year ago
Brand's biography is a work that spans the entire life of a true peoples' President. Jackson's life is filled with stories by which legends are made, and Brands takes a careful look at all of them, giving more or less detail appropriately to those that are more or less important. The best part about Brands biography is the format. It is a fine blend of character-driven and plot-driven scenes where all the necessary background information is provided and all the repercussions of the events are included. The biography is short for such an adventurous life, about 560 pages. For its length it is surprisingly detailed, but it would not have suffered from being made a bit longer. Perhaps the worst part are the sweeping generalizations about the time-period that are made throughout. Often, Brands talks about the way things were then and gives an awfully negative tone when doing so without providing much evidence, leading the reader to believe it's often just speculation. Overall, the biography offers an adventurous and at times inspiring tale of a truly democratic President written by an articulate and careful pen. If you are looking for a biography that brings you equally to both character and place, without emphasizing one over the other, this is the one.
Nedinthefirstreader More than 1 year ago
A vivid account of a man who steeped himself in principals. Brands exhaustive research peels away previous images of the man for whom an era was named. I had to read twice the bar-room and gutter brawls. The author's descriptive telling of the gun duels; the cause and effects were no less than mesmerizng when you remember that this man was President of the United States. Brands clearly details the self-making of a man, almost an orphan, who rose and served two terms as president. His unheraled love of Rebecca, his actions as a military commander and his unyielding devotion to the preservation of the Union truly marks him as one of America's greatest heroes. Brands has gone over the top with this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book reads easily and is wriiten well. It is a biography that flows like a narrative therefore very interesting. But beware of some of the author's conclusions. They are tainted by his strong pro-southern and Texas bias and by his anti- New England bias.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brands presents a balanced view of Andrew Jackson with engaging anecdotes about his life and the rapidly maturing nation that influenced him. I liked how Brands made no apologies for behavior that made Jackson a controversial figure. But instead, he provided clear context to help readers understand the frame of mind that drove Jackson's behavior (while still pointing out Jackson's contradictions). Anecdotes about his time as a militia leader and in the Battle of New Orleans were enlightening and illustrated the times in which he lived.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Brands does an excellent job of painting the picture of Jackson and the Jacksonian era!
buzz64 More than 1 year ago
A somewhat disappointing read.  I never really felt I got to know Andrew Jackson.  The book reads like a compilation of historic events and people that occurred and lived during Jackson's lifetime.  In my opinion, this work by Brands does not measure up to biographies I've read that were written by McCullough, Chernow, and David Herbert Donald. 
lyzadanger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brands' biography makes it possible both to feel taken aback by Jackson's intense and often brutal decisions, while still glimpsing humanity through the cracks.That is what made this book readable: humanity. The first two-thirds of the book are a challenging but entertaining read about the sinews of early American politics. For someone as ignorant of 19th-century American history as I am, there was a lot to learn. The boyhood saga of Jackson is readable and evocative.Jackson is not a subtle man, shaped by his rough-and-ready upbringing. Nor is he particularly introspective or reflective. His executive actions are one-sided, simple and blunt. This is not a man plagued by ambivalence.I don't have a strong interest in political science, so the last third of the book, when Jackson had gained national office, was not my favorite, especially the long section about the struggles with the National Bank. But the first two-thirds really helped to fill in my history gaps with some nice, thick brushwork.Brands has a nice habit, for the most part, of selecting quotes from sources that are interesting and illustrative. He does fall in the trap occasionally of sounding as if he is defending or glossing over Jackson's missteps (The Trail of Tears gets but short shrift, for example). There are some side trips, but mostly interesting ones, like Sam Houston's Texas.Overall, a good read for those trying to learn the basics about Old Hickory.
Jiggarelli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a reader of presidential biographies, frontiersmen biographies, and a student of early American history in general, I found this book great. I like bio's in general, and this book is a nice start to finish Andrew Jackson book. Mr. Brands does an excellent job at making a 650+ page book a real page turner. Some aspects I feel could have been covered a little more, but all in all a job well done, and none of the 650 pages are wasted. Because I have pretty terrible eyesight at just 30 years old ( and I refuse to get glasses, yet! ) I try to purchase large print, and Random House LP is excellent. 860 + pages and worth every turn!A few things left me wishing they were covered a little more in depth, but not many. Of those things that I needed or wanted more info on were all covered in the second and third books on A.J. that I have since read. No one I have loaned the book to has not enjoyed it throughly, and I'm sure you will as well.Full of anecdotal phases, some light humor between frontier heavyweights, a chance to see the softer side of such a hard man, and very graceful with it's presentation of timeline, merit reading on their own.
oddvark59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good read, but a little soft on some of Jackson's more controversial decisions.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Andrew Jackson is one of the most important and influential of our pre-20th century Presidents. In fact, if at the time of its construction, Mount Rushmore had room for five Presidential profiles, Andrew Jackson would have almost certainly been the one added. Youthful participant in the Revolutionary War, explorer, frontiersman, duelist, congressman, gentleman planter, Hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 and ultimately multi-term President; that's quite a resume. As Brands so ably points out, Jackson was the first "people's President". Following Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Adams, Jackson was arguably the first "outsider" to be elected to the White House, largely on the wave of public adulation, support which he never relinquished. Such was the life of Jackson, that despite covering almost 600 pages, this book almost seems cursory in its handling of the many aspects of his full and varied life. While his monumental and epic battle with Nicholas Biddle and the Bank of the United States is covered at length, and his expansionist pursuits with respect to Louisiana, Florida and Texas are well documented, most other aspects of his presidency are glossed over almost completely. The details of his feuds with many of his contemporaries are fascinating, but in my opinion not extensively covered and analyzed. If ever there was a need for a multi-volume biography, the life and times of Andrew Jackson would be the case. Along with Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, Jackson would be well deserving of the title "An American Original".
derekstaff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brands does a fantastic job enlightening on a president who had previously been for me a rather mysterious and ambiguous character. This study reveals him to be a much more sympathetic, if still rough and flawed, character. Brands presents him as a man whose public life was relentlessly dedicated to two central goals; protecting the interest and liberty of the common man, and neutralizing any potential threat to the nation which made that liberty possible, whether that threat come from Indians, foreign nations (ie, Britain), or secession. Brands reveals the private Jackson as well, and the man's devotion to his family and wife in particular was especially revealing, surprising and touching. A worthy biography.
drneutron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the course of reading biographies for the US Presidents Challenge, I made it to Andrew Jackson this month. My first instinct was to read American Lion, since a new release of a softbound version is being marketed right now and like David McCullough's biography of John Adams, that's the one people seem to be reading. But I decided to look into other options, since I had read it a few years back when originally released in hardback. And I'm glad I did. As good as American Lion is, H. W. Brands' Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times also fills the bill for a highly readable, thoroughly enjoyable biography of one of our most interesting presidents.I hadn't realized how driven Jackson was. At least as portrayed by Brands, he was completely focused on preserving the Union in his career, as a politician early in life, as a military commander and as President. He gave fits to those above him in the hierarchy because his focus (and the inability to easily communicate across distances at the time) led him to risk war with Spain in invading Florida, antagonize Britain by executing agents he believed were stirring the Indians to war against the United States, etc. He knew he was right and those who disagreed were his enemies. But his decisions also made him very popular with the common man - and he rode this wave of popularity into the White House and changed the way the US is governed to something much more like a true democracy.Brands' portrayal of Jackson makes him come alive. His love of and devotion to his wife and family shine throughout the book. But Jackson's a tough character to write about. He was a product of his times - slave owner, military man, Indian fighter. He believed that the native population should be relocated west of the Mississippi, but he honestly believed it was for their own safety in avoiding conflict with white settlers. His scorched-earth tactics wiped out entire native towns and Spanish or British encampments. And yet he adopted children orphaned by his battles on two separate occasions. I can't imagine trying to figure out how to present what from our viewpoint seems so contradictory in a way that gives a full picture of the man. Brands does this remarkably well.My biggest issue with Brands' book is that he spends lots of time with Jackson's military years, but seems to skim through the Presidency. Jackson took on the national bank, the Mexican government over Texas, and relocation of the native population to reservations across the Mississippi River, but these events only take up two or three chapters in the whole work. The Trail of Tears relocation only took up a few paragraphs. The fight over the structure of the US banking system brought about significant economic crisis, yet the discussion felt very shallow. Another 50 or so pages to allow more detailed discussion of some of these major issues would have been better, I think. Still, it's a very good introduction to the life of this very interesting, very dificult man.
twatson79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brands proves to be an excellent creator of prose, but the biography falls short of a thorough retelling of Jackson's life. It devotes more attention to his military career than his presidency. The description of Jackson's temperament in his early life is very engaging. The major decisions of his presidency are never fully discussed -- I know that Jackson was against a national bank, but Brands never tells us why. This is a sad aspect since Brands wants to paint Jackson as one of the most influential executives the US has ever known. Also, the conclusion linking Jackson to Lincoln seems specious.
edwin.gleaves on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Highly readable biography of Old Hickory, strong on his times as well as his life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting presidenr
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