With the sweep, passion, and attention to detail that made The First American a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a national best seller, historian H.W. Brands shapes a historical narrative that's as fast-paced and compelling as the best fiction. He follows Andrew Jackson from his days as rebellious youth, risking execution to free the Carolinas of the British during the Revolutionary War, to his years as a young lawyer and congressman from the newly settled frontier state of Tennessee. As general of the Tennessee militia, he put down a massive Indian uprising in the South, securing the safety of American settlers, and his famous rout of the British at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 made him a national hero.
But it is Jackson's contributions as president, however, that won him a place in the pantheon of America's greatest leaders. A man of the people, without formal education or the family lineage of the Founding Fathers, he sought as president to make the country a genuine democracy, governed by and for the people. Jackson, although respectful of states' rights, devoted himself to the preservation of the Union, whose future in that age was still very much in question. When South Carolina, his home state, threatened to secede over the issue of slavery, Jackson promised to march down with 100,000 federal soldiers should it dare.
©2005 H.W. Brands; (P)2005 Books on Tape
"Illuminating both the mettle of a fascinating leader and the crucible in which American democracy was forged....[Brands'] effort is intensely engaging....A bracing, human portrait of both a remarkable man and of American democracy as it was transformed from a 'government of the people' into a 'government by the people'." (Publishers Weekly)
"This complete and completely enveloping biography indelibly establishes Jackson's abiding sense of duty in serving democracy....A distinguished treatment certain to be the most authoritative and comprehensive account for some time." (Booklist)
I have recently finished H W Brands excellent biography of Andrew Jackson. I have long had an interest in knowing more about Jackson, who inspires strong and diverse feelings about his place in history. I had not realised what an adventurous and momentous life he led - from participation as a boy in the war of independence, being orphaned, his fights and duels, indian wars, defence of New Orleans, and the annexation of florida and texas - and he was President for 8 years, and by all justice won the election before he actually became President only to be denied by a shabby deal between Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams. He ended up as just about the most popular President in history.
Brands' biography is what I would call worthy - it's comprehensive, judicious, detailed. And he sets theman in his time very well. What lets him down is a rather ponderous prose style, and this makes for slightly hard work as an audiobook, as the narrator also suffers from worthiness: you do need to concentrate. If you have listended to Brands audiobook version of Benjamin Franklin's biography, you will understand what I mean.
All that said, this is a fine book andI thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend to anyone intersted in Andrew Jackson, his life and times and place in history.
My only beef is that it is annoying that the publishers have made two audiobooks. Although the book is long, longer have been published as one, so it can only be to make more money out of the hapless reader. Audible should discourage this sort of thing.
"Details lead to boredom"
I listened to both volumes 1 & 2 and discovered that Andrew Jackson was indeed an interesting character as a man and as president. However, the author got carried away with covering minutiae in Jackson's life. Consequently, the book contained too many details that did not add to the big picture. For me, this detail "subtracted" from the book's value because I often found mmyself totally bored and drifting away to other thoughts. Of course background was important to the understanding of Jackson, but this went way beyond what was needed. By the time I got to his presidency, I was tired of the man, but I did hang in there until the end. After a respite, I did re-listened to the sections on his presidency so that I could actually appreciate what occurred during that period and what he accomplished.
If there is an abridged version that combines volumes 1 and 2, choose that over the unabridged.
This biography give a fill portrait of the man most know only as an Indian figther, Hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and the first "frontier" President. It also give excellent background detail to the social and political circumstances that ultimately would lead to the Civil War and the later Indian wars. For anyone who wants to know more about Jackson than the two paragraph homoginized summary in an eighth grade civics textbook, this book is a must listen.
"Old Hickory lived up to his nickname"
I started listening to this audio book with an open heart trying my best not to be bias as I have studied Tennessee history and Andrew Jackson for years. However, it did nothing to change my mind as to his character. Jackson was a person that wanted to settle most disputes with people with a pistol (duel). The man was a hot head and did shame the Tennessee people by being a slave trader and forcing the proud Cherokee nation on the march of "The Trail of Tears". How anyone could glorify this man with a book is beyond me as he killed and plundered across the state of Tennessee and our Southern lands. I have listened to the audio books on Jefferson and Adams, who were great men that molded this great nation and were framers of the constitution. But by Jackson?s on words he despised these great forefathers. I don't say these things not being a Tennessean as I am a fourth generation and proud Tennessean. The book is excellent but the person about who it was written was rotten to the bone.
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