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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2005 H.W. Brands; (P)2005 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Eric on 02-07-06

Very Thorough

I came into the book not knowing anything about Andrew Jackson. Now I feel like I lived along side him. The book is very thorough and the narrator is excellent. The story line kept me interest even through the political debates.

The author seems to go off on tangents while the reader wonders why. Then, all the information is nicely woven together.

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32 of 33 people found this review helpful

By Elizabeth on 03-26-08

A great tale, superbly read

I knew almost nothing about Jackson when I started this book except that he had been President and had something to do with New Orleans and Florida. Now I can almost picture him, calling for duels at the drop of a hat, training his horses, playing with his adopted son (and a baby lamb), urging on his troops, who returned his pride in them with fierce loyalty, sticking to his principles at the repeated risk of his career, and having arguably as much effect on the course of America's history as any of the Founders did. In telling Jackson's story, H.W. Brands also tells the story of his era, which was as noble, bellicose and preoccupied with principle as he was: shaped by war with Spain, Britain and American Indians, political friction between Federalists and Republicans, and the remorseless westward push that eventually stretched America from sea to shining sea. John H Mayer's narration is a treat, and does full justice to Brands' artfully structured yet utterly natural-sounding prose.

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18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Moriarty on 09-22-17


I loved the life and it's telling. Jackson was a soldier, lawyer and statesman, living in a time of great change and expansion. Brands book is great at bringing out the man and the times.

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