The most famous American of his time, Andrew Jackson is a seminal figure in American history. The first "common man" to rise to the presidency, Jackson embodied the spirit and the vision of the emerging American nation; the term "Jacksonian democracy" is embedded in our national lexicon.
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.
"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)
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Good. But not deep
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