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Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time
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Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published June 1st 1990 by American Political Biography Press (first published 1939)
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David Bales
Brilliant classic from 1939, Freeman Cleaves' biography of William Henry Harrison, frontier politician and general who ended up as a historical footnote as the ninth U.S. president because he was the first president to die in office, (after serving only 31 days). What most Americans don't remember is that he had 68 previous years, including 11 years as governor of Indiana Territory and fought in numerous Indian wars and the War of 1812, including, (naturally, the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811) bu ...more
It's hard to give this book 3 stars. I want it to be 3 and 1/2! Please keep in mind that 3 means I liked it. I did like it! It was more than OK! I even recommend it. I learned a great deal about WHH. (I've noticed I rather like referring to my prez boys by their 3 initials. As with my new BFF JQA.) We all hear the story of how he died a month after being inaugurated and it's kind of told as if his life was a waste, but it surely wasn't. He spent the first half of his life - and thus we spend the ...more

“Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time” by Freeman Cleaves was published in 1939 and remains the “go to” classic on the nation’s ninth president. Born in 1904, Cleaves graduated from the University of New Hampshire and worked as a journalist beginning in 1925. His career included stints at The Boston Herald, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Following publication of his biography of Harrison he focused on his new great passion, t
Russell Reidelberger
Having set a goal of reading a biography on every president, I have recently gone back to reading and not listening to audio books, partially because there aren't audio books on these presidents and partially because I find that I'm retaining more from the reading. At first I found it almost foolish that I was going to read a 400 plus page book on a president that only served about a month, but I'm glad I did. One of the many interest aspects of a president is how he finds himself even close to ...more
Although only in office for one month as President of the United States, William Henry Harrison's life was filled with one fascinating adventure to the next. From his countless military campaigns, to his administrative experiences as governor of the Indiana Territory, to representative and Senator from Ohio his life touches on many pivotal moments in American history. He was not always revered as a military hero but deserved his accolades as the greatest general since George Washington. He maste ...more
Regina Lindsey
As part of our Chronological Read of American History Group, a great deal of discussion went into whether or not to include Harrison since his term was limited to one month after he died in office. I, for one, am gald we included his biography in our read. The main reason is that this read provided the most detailed account of Native American policy to date. This aspect was surprisingly lacking in Meacham's American Lion, yet Cleaves spends about 2/3 of his work on Harrisons involvement. This se ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Mark rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: croah
William Henry Harrison is probably best known today as the answer to a trivia question. Yet his standing as the man with the briefest tenure as president obscures a long and important life. Freeman Cleaves's great achievement in this book is to describe this life in dramatic prose that captures much of the excitement of a young nation expanding westward in the early 19th century. Primarily a military historian, Cleaves focuses on Harrison's tenure as territorial governor of Indiana and his servi ...more
The other John
In the past, when I've been seeking out Presidential biographies, I've been looking for the most modern versions I could find. I figure that if you go back to the fifties or earlier, all you'll get is a rah-rah tale of "America right or wrong" hero worship. And if you try for the sixties or seventies, all you'll get is a "let me tell you the truth about this so called hero" tale. Well, when it came to the 9th U.S. President, my choice was Inter-library Loan, or this 1939 volume. (not counting th ...more
As it does with a lot of things, The Simpsons perfectly encapsulates what most people know about William Henry Harrison, giving him the line, "I died in thirty days!" in a school musical number, "The Mediocre Presidents." That and "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" probably sums up Harrison's legacy in popular culture.

This book made me appreciate that Harrison came to the presidency with a rather impressive resume: War of 1812 general, governor of Indiana, senator, congressman and ambassador. Like a lot
Well, always check the publication date before grabbing a book. A few pages in I checked and realized the book was written in 1939. Whoops. That being said, the author did a tremendous amount of research and did a good job showing the rise of Harrison. Of course, this is all with typical 1939 language, which is not very pc to say the least. Also, the book abruptly ends when Harrison dies (spoiler!), so I was left wanting a little there.
This was an interesting book. WHH was primarily an indian war fighter, a capable General, and a popular man when it came to politicking.

The book adequately covered his life from beginning to end. Great detail was given to his military endeavors and a few chapters to his political campaigning. Just a short section covered his 30 days as President but what can you say...that's 'all she wrote' for WHH.

If your primary goal is to learn about the life of WHH (as mine was) you'll find this book rewardi
The greater part of the book naturally focuses on WHH's career in the north-west territories and this much of the book is very well done. A rich, detailed picture of WHH's life and character emerges through the presentation of his military adventures from Tippecanoe through the war of 1812.

Once the story reaches Washington, things are a bit weaker. A lot is written with very little context making it quite difficult to place the events in proper relation with the rest of the history of that time
Perhaps because he only served one month as President, there aren't many biographies of W.H. Harrison. I searched the catalogs of three different library systems where I have borrowing privileges, then searched new and used books for sale online and found nothing. I finally found this book available at a local college that grants borrowing privileges to county residents. So I didn't have a choice of several different biographies to choose from.

This biography, written in 1939, is dated and a some
I am reading the biographies of the US Presidents. Harrison's presidency took up about the last five pages, understandable as he fell sick and died within a month of his inauguration. Most interesting was his generalship during the War of 1812 and his involvement with the indians in the Ohio Valley. General Harrison certainly had more concern for the plight of the natives than did General Sherman 55 years later. A more insightful book on the role of indians in the western war and on settlers is ...more
Matt Marlier
I enjoyed this bio. I'd highly recommend it.
I did it! I finally finished Old Tippecanoe!!! For some reason it has taken me over a year to finish this book. I should be clear that this is in no way a reflection on the quality of the book. In fact, it was a really interesting read, though at times a bit over my head. Amazing that a biography on a president who was only in office for a month should be over 300 pages, but it's only because William Henry Harrison at such a full and interesting life. It would have been interesting to see what h ...more
Jerry Landry
Really great biography for the most part. Very detailed, and for a while there, I really got a good sense of Harrison the man. Towards the end, though, it seemed to be more of a recitation of dates, and the end was quite abrupt. Still, I do recommend it in order to better understand an often overlooked president. While not having a great impact as president due to the extremely short length of time he occupied the office, Harrison greatly impacted the nation's history through his life before ste ...more
A long read about a man who was only president a month, but it gives an interesting perspective on early frontier life (when the frontier was Illinois) and the wars and relationships with the native americans. This is pretty much the only biography of the man out there and it is old.
Ian Hastings
A bit of a tough read, but interesting in terms of the life of Harrision, especially since he is the president who served the shortest amount of time. He was very involved in military and politics of the settlement of Ohio and Illinois, something I didn't know about him.
David Hill
Harrison, of course, was president for only a month. This biography, then, is only technically about a president. It is more about the general who fought at Tippecanoe and other battles in the American northwest during the war of 1812.
Aug 02, 2007 Tom rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historians
Shelves: biography
This excellent Harrison biography is not for casual fans but historians and dedicated amateurs should relish it. It impartially describes Harrison and brings a little remembered president to life.
Not a bad bio. Really the only good bio of Harrison out there. He was a heck of a patriot. Maybe not the best or most qualified to run for the high office of President, but a good American.
Steve H
Informative but only fairly written; wrote more on his war movements. I was hoping to see more personal stuff. Presidency was sketchy. I'll have to do more reading on this man.
Bill Walker
Pretty good biography that covers his entire life, from origins in Virginia, to military career and governorship of the Indiana territory, to presidency and death.
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