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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.
“Old Hickory rides again in H.W. Brands’s elegantly written and carefully researched biogaphy of the heroic U.S. president most responsible for shaping our modern democracy. The Andrew Jackson that emerges in these riveting pages is a battlefield warrior and menacing cut-throat, a frontier backwoodsman, and an aristocratic dandy. But he was always one hundred percent American. A must-read!” —Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University
“Andrew Jackson was an irascible scoundrel, a crank, and a force of nature; he was also one of America’s greatest leaders. Who better to write his biography than Bill Brands, who tells the sweeping story of this unforgettable man with vivid prose and the sure hand of a meticulous historian. A splendid achievement.” —Jay Winik, author of April 1865: The Month that Saved America
"[Brands] meticulously renders Jackson's life, his ugly massacres of Indians as well as his triumphs, with unflinching detail.... The result is 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
“Engaging…a definitive work.”–Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“He covers a complex life with extraordinary ease… Brands has mined the archives and produced a creditable, highly readable and definitely worthwhile study.”–Chicago Tribune
“Gives readers a great sense of the man and the rugged Western life that molded him…it offers insight into how one American leader gained his fame.”–San Francisco Chronicle
“Revealing…a masterful, detailed account of Jackson's life and his contributions to the nation. Thoroughly researched and thoughtfully told.”–The Oregonian
“Wonderfully told…His life story is the stuff of legends.”–The Seattle Times
“A great story…serves up everything you might expect in a ripping yarn: murderous duels, savage Indian raids, equally savage counterattacks.”–The Washington Post Book World
“Vivid…breaks the bonds of academic writing with pace, detail and a sense of the sweep of history.”–San Antonio Express-News
“Highly readable and entertaining…[Brands] presents Jackson, warts and all, as the fascinating and exceedingly real character that he was and lets the man emerge from behind the image to stand on his own.”–Dallas Morning News
“[Brands] writes with a measured glide that catches the reader's interest. He is talented, brilliant in description, and easy in tone; in short, Brands is fun to read.”–Raleigh News-Observer
“Entertaining and hard to put down…what reader could quarrel with a book that gives you pistols at dawn, an enduring love story, Indian battles, high political drama and some spectacular battlefield scenes?”–The Tennessean
“Jackson was an American original, a wholly fascinating figure whom H. W. Brands brings to life in a big, rich biography, ''Andrew Jackson." Brands weaves together keen political history with anecdote and marvelous sense of place to produce a vivid tableau. And after a relentless diet of Revolutionary figures from the likes of David McCullough and Joseph Ellis, we receive this Jackson opus with relief and curiosity.”–The Boston Globe