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Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents #7)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  322 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The towering figure who remade American politics—the champion of the ordinary citizen and the scourge of entrenched privilege

The Founding Fathers espoused a republican government, but they were distrustful of the common people, having designed a constitutional system that would temper popular passions. But as the revolutionary generation passed from the scene in the 1820s,
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Times Books
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Mar 12, 2015 Brett rated it liked it
This is the second of the American Presidents series which I've read (the first was George McGovern writing about Abraham Lincoln). By design, these books are short and general, which can be good for a reader that is interested in learning the outlines of a presidency, but also means that they were limited in the depth in which they can explore their subjects.

Wilentz is a well-known liberal and I was interested to hear his views on Jackson, a president that has seen his level of admiration drop
Zach Koenig
Mar 05, 2017 Zach Koenig rated it it was amazing
The American Presidents series turns in another interesting, well-written installment!

In this book, written by Sean Wilentz, all the relevent areas of Andrew Jackson (U.S. President #7) as both man and political figure are touched on, including:

-His somewhat unsteady value system that championed the rights of the "little man" yet saw little problem looking the other way (like all Presidents before him) when it came to confronting the practice of slavery.

-His epic battles against the National Ban
Dec 28, 2014 Louise rated it it was amazing
He's on most lists of our best presidents as well as our $20 bill. Democrats hail him as a founder. After reading this book, and attempting a few others, it's still hard to understand why Jackson has been accorded such respect.

I started both the Brand and Remini bios. Through them I came to understand his childhood and how the American Revolution shaped his character and views. The psychological toll of losing his nuclear family at a young age had to be enormous. His mother's heroic search and r
Steven Peterson
Feb 11, 2011 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
Sean Wilentz has penned an admirable brief biography of Andrew Jackson. This thin volume is part of The American Presidents series of books. They are brief and accessible to a larger readership. Do you want a detailed picture of Jackson? This isn't for you (try Brands' biography for example). Do you want a quick and accessible introduction? Then this book would be useful.

One of the factors making this a good book is its realistic view of Jackson. He had great accomplishments; he also was flawed.
Larry Hostetler
Mar 15, 2013 Larry Hostetler rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
With the proliferation of exhaustive/exhausting, lengthy biographies, this less-imposing length yet still intelligent biography was well worth the effort. I appreciated that the strictures on size didn't seem to inhibit the even-handed approach to various issues during Jackson's time (slavery and southern nullification, political perspectives, etc.)

When length is limited it is not possible to delve deeply into recreating the personality and go into detail on various important episodes in the sub
Fred Kohn
Feb 28, 2014 Fred Kohn rated it it was ok
Only two stars, but not the author's fault. This is one of a series on the American Presidents, and each rather slim book is the same approximate length. There were so many significant events in Jackson's life and presidency that there was simply not enough room to cover them all in the depth they deserve. Still, it is hard to understand why this book is 29 pages shorter than the book on Warren G. Harding, from the same series.
Jerry Landry
Definitely one of the most well-done biographies of this series. Wilentz provides a fair and balanced look at our seventh president, one of the more divisive figures of American history. I recommend this biography to anyone looking for a quick look at Jackson's life and presidency.
Robin Friedman
Nov 07, 2016 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
Andrew Jackson And American Democracy

Note. I am reposting this review and revisiting the American presidents near the end of the current 2016 presidential contest.

The 2008 Presidential race is in full swing, and interest in the contest runs high. In order to keep my own bearings, I wanted to try to take a short but broader view of our Presidents and our nation's history. One way to do this is by reading some of the volumes in the recent "American Presidents" series edited by the late Arthur Schl
James P
Feb 28, 2017 James P rated it it was amazing
Great read! Wilentz can be a little bombastic at times, but steps back and gives a great view of the big picture. Does a good job of showing Jackson's commitment to government by the common man. Doesn't fail prey to the trivial. On a par with longer biographies by Brands and Meacham. On to Remini's 3 volume work...
Debbie Jacob
Mar 03, 2017 Debbie Jacob rated it liked it
I love this series, but this wasn't one of my favorite books in the series. Like him or loathe him, Jackson was a colourful character, and this book does not capture the essence of Jackson at a perso at all. It concentrates mostly on Jackson's political and military exploits, and not his personal life. Rachel, his beloved wife, is barely mentioned. This is a well-researched, condensed version of Jackson, the President, but it turned out to be a very dry read of Jackson's political and military e ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Tim rated it liked it
I wanted to like Wilentz's book on Jackson more, but in the end my dubiousness about Jackson's character could not be overcome by Wilentz's explanations and assertions. The short form certainly hampered him - it is tough to try and contain a character like Jackson in such a small book. Wilentz was further hindered because he attempted to balance an understanding of Jackson's environment with detail about Jackson's life.

The end result feels a little like a cardboard character - the fierce, loyal
Feb 11, 2017 Frank rated it really liked it
This is a good, concise read of Andrew Jackson's accomplishments, disappointments, and failures. Specific points of interest to me were his governance of slavery, Trail of Tears,
democratic system reform, and economic policies.
He owned slaves and did not seem morally conflicted. He also enabled the continuing practice of slavery by suppressing free press and abolitionists, all in the name of keeping the Union together.
His democratic system reforms entailed voting for some federal positions and
May 26, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Wilentz, Sean. ANDREW JACKSON. (2005). ****. This is another in the series, “The American Presidents.” Within the constraints set by the general editor, Arthur M. Schlesinger, each presidential review must be written at two-hundred pages or less; this including a timeline, notes, bibliography, and index. For a controversial president like Jackson, who also served two terms, this is daunting. The author, a professor of history at Princeton, does his best, but you can tell he feels the pressure. D ...more
Shea Mastison
Jul 24, 2013 Shea Mastison rated it it was ok
Reading the introduction, one can get a sense of what direction the book will be heading: a very orthodox, unoriginal look at Andrew Jackson. This is mainstream history, with all of it's unexamined assumptions and erroneous conclusions. The concept of nullification is laughed at; and presidents are rated not by their fidelity to the Constitution, or their respect for individual rights--but for more nebulous things like "a vision," "initiative," etc.

Fortunately, Andrew Jackson is an interesting c
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it
I found this to be a more than adequate introduction into Jackson's two-term Presidency. For an executive summary, the Epilogue provides most of the relevant information.

Now I have a stronger sense of how complex the issues were then. For the somber man on the US $20, I am trying to understand how he got wealthy by buying and selling slaves, killed a man in a duel, and would have been the first President assassinated if the pistol had not have misfired. (Twice. And then Jackson pulverized the a
Dave McMahon
Feb 14, 2013 Dave McMahon rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book for a first look to an amazing and complex figure of American history. Wilentz brings us through the Jackson years with great detail in such a succinct book.

You can feel the break between the era of the first 6 presidents, issued from Virginia and Massachussetts and see the rise of a new political order through Jackson.

The details on the fight with the Second US Bank, and the beggining of the rise of slavery is deeply interesting.
Pat Carson
Another winner in The American Presidents series. Wilentz gives us a good sketch of Jackson's life, since Jackson represents the first president who does not come from an establishment family or group. His book reminds us how history's views of Jackson's accomplishments have changed over time. Good read.
Colleen Browne
Apr 08, 2013 Colleen Browne rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a short little book in the presidential series. I was attracted to it (and others in the series because the authors are great historians). It is a well written little volume. If I have any criticism it is that Wilenz, in my opinion, goes a bit easy on Jackson. It is still worth reading.
Oct 31, 2011 Jpavalock rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in American History
I'm half way through this book about Jackson. It's very detailed about his presidency, the Indian problem, the Second Bank especially and Nicholas Biddle and the Biddle Panic. I'm on chapter 7, Slavery and Democracy.
Nov 10, 2016 Jordan rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
I rated this so high not because of enjoyment but because this is super, SUPER helpful for my research paper. If you have to write about the Presidential Veto, this was the only book I found that went into specific detail, and the book is pretty short and to the point as well.
Phil Kamphuis
Apr 04, 2010 Phil Kamphuis rated it liked it
A very pro-Jackson book that recounts the many events during Andrew Jackson's Presidency that impacted US history. It is an interesting read that I would recommend to any fan of history.
Sep 06, 2015 Micah rated it really liked it
My man Wilentz is a bit more apologetic for Jackson's high crimes and misdemeanors (mostly high crimes) than I am, but overall pretty good.
Jun 13, 2007 Jack rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All
Quick, interesting account. Wilentz offers a needed pro-Jackson depiction of the battle between the President and the BUS.
William  Shep
Nov 20, 2010 William Shep rated it really liked it
Well balanced biography of a lightning rod president.
Mar 11, 2008 David rated it did not like it
These American president series offered by the History Club are just a little too short and simplistic for me. Haven't read one yet that is satisfying.
Maria  - Music and Fantasy are my Life and Dreams
Biographies are evil
May 24, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok
A book about Andrew Jackson could be many things, but it did not occur to me that boring could be one of them.
Dec 10, 2007 James rated it liked it
Shelves: history-project
Best of the President's series being published by Holt. Most authors over-adore their subject, but the Jackson book is excellent in providing context and complexity for Jackson.
Robert A.
Robert A. rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2016
Ritobrata Pal
Ritobrata Pal rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2016
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Sean Wilentz (b. 1951) is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of History at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1979

In his spare writing time, he is historian-in-residence at Bob Dylan’s official website,
More about Sean Wilentz...

Other Books in the Series

The American Presidents (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • George Washington
  • John Adams
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison
  • James Monroe
  • John Quincy Adams
  • Martin Van Buren
  • William Henry Harrison (The American Presidents, #9)
  • John Tyler (The American Presidents, #10)
  • James K. Polk (The American Presidents, #11)

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