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Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  106 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
American History.
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Simon & Schuster
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Tony
Jan 02, 2012 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: history
DRIVEN WEST: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War. (2010). A. J. Langguth. ***.
I had mixed feelings about this history. It was obviously the intent of the author to fully cover the roots and the reality of the Indian removal across the Mississippi under the presidency of Jackson, but he tried to cover much, much more. To do that, he reached the end of the transfer and then raced to take us up through the end of the Civil War – although his Civil War coverage only included the
...more
Kristin Huston
Dec 27, 2011 Kristin Huston rated it liked it
While I enjoyed reading this book, I just became more and more angry at how everything played out. I've read about the Trail of Tears before and it always makes me angry. Unfortunately, I don't see a whole lot of change in government from then to now. Elected officials promising everything and delivering little, self-serving individuals screwing their own people and most of us blithely ignorant of what is going on. At least I didn't throw this book at the wall.
Joe
Nov 17, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it
A very good high level overview of American history from 1825 through the Civil War ... with a particularly interesting emphasis on the relocation of the South East American Indians to "Indian Country." The "Trail of Tears" was a very embarressing event in the history of the US.

I enjoy Langguth's style. His books are very readable with excellent content. I learned a lot in reading this book.
Steve
Aug 24, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Well written, as all books by this author. Much that I did not know, but depressing enough that I am not sure I wanted to know it.
Ernie
May 09, 2017 Ernie rated it really liked it
This was a fairly comprehensive volume covering the period of John Quincy Adam's tenure in the White House up through the election of Lincoln. Polk and Pierce are covered very little, and the meat of the book is during the years of Jackson, Van Buren, and John Tyler. There is also a lot of information about Henry Clay.

Aside from the American politicians, there is also a lot about several prominent Native Americans and their own political struggles from the first inklings of relocation to the Tra
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Nathan
May 11, 2013 Nathan rated it did not like it
I think of this book as a lecture by a completely well-intentioned but overly-enthusiastic professor, gregarious and slightly show-offy.

Langguth doesn't sound as elegiac as one might expect. This is no cousin to "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". Rather, he spins out a tale in spurts of character studies, chapters entitled with the names of figures, forming a mosaic of a more complex kind than the more polemic treatments I've read. If the story is more complex, the delivery of it in bite-size pie
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Jb
Mar 26, 2016 Jb rated it liked it
Shelves: done
I found this book a bit tough going: many characters, difficult to keep in mind who was who, particularly since many Indian chiefs and leaders had English names. A reference chart would have helped keep track. Still, many misconceptions (I think stemming from a course in American history I took as an undergrad that I mostly slept through) are clarified. The era during which Indian removal from their lands east of the Mississippi River is only part of the story. Election battles for the presidenc ...more
Paul
Aug 22, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it

Fascinating portraits of all sorts of semi-forgotten historical figures, turns out I've forgotten a lot of American history. But here they are, Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, John Calhoun, Jackson, of course, and their ladies who play large roles in running Washington. Also the leaders of the Cherokee nation, Major Ridge and others. So far, not to the trail of tears, but what a lot of rapscallions our forefathers were. I'm glad I'm not descended from this lot of thieves, slave-owners, and worse.
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Reid
Jan 27, 2013 Reid rated it really liked it
A.J. Langguth has become my favorite American history author, with my only complaint being he hasn't covered every period in our history yet. "Patriots" remains my favorite so far, but his writing style, knowledge and research makes each of his books enjoyable.

That said, I very much enjoyed Driven West but it found it more difficult to get into. This is a result of the times covered, an important part of American history but certainly doesn't get the play the Revolutionary or Civil wars get. Eve
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Mike
I found this book to be a difficult one to review. I feel like I learned a lot about the political history of America during the time of Jackson through Buhcanan, but felt that the book never truly had an identity. Much of it wanted to be a history of the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. However, every time it started making progress with their history, it would switch over to presidential politics or something else. It seemed like the author would have been better served narrowing the book down ...more
Félix
Aug 24, 2016 Félix rated it liked it
Author attempted to cover a wide range of events in a relatively small space. Sometimes it seemed he condensed things to the extreme and left a lot of gaps. That being said, the book was still informative. Our European ancestors have a lot to account for. Cherokees tried so hard to assimilate but to no avail, due to the greed for land settlers exhibited in the south. But yes, it was complicated -- and some of their own people sold them out. But it seems that Jackson would have let them stay if i ...more
Sterling
Dec 05, 2014 Sterling rated it did not like it
This is the 4th book in my American history series. I'll have to concede that I didn't give it the attention it may have deserved, but I found the book incredibly difficult to get into. I'm sad to say I don't remember much from the read-just that it covered a really wide swath of history and I was looking for more intensive detail on the Trail of Tears. I may be on the lookout in the future for a more compelling story about Jacksonian era America.
Gene
Jan 14, 2011 Gene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, 2011
An amazing story, gripping characters portrayed in a way that a fiction writer could never build. The intrigue between Calhoun, Jackson, Van Buren, and Clay rivals the political aspirations of Alexander Hamilton. Somehow they all seem to be three faced scoundrels, but I liked their characters.
Michael
Jul 22, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
Well written with interesting insights into the actions of the men on both sides of Indian removal and "The Trail of Tears". This issue & Andrew Jackson figure into the Nullification debate, however, they don't figure into the Secession Crisis of 1860-61 leading to the Civil War.
Russell L
A detailed history of the politics and actors who affected the push to drive the Indians out of Florida and Georgia to the West.
Michael Wilson
Jan 30, 2017 Michael Wilson rated it really liked it
This book is rather interesting and includes a large amount of information. The downside is that the book basically follows the politics of the trail of tears and is not that well sourced.
Craig Ross
Craig Ross rated it did not like it
Dec 25, 2015
Richard Fasano
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Nov 10, 2015
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David Barnhill rated it liked it
Mar 29, 2013
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Jennifer Sedaille
Jennifer Sedaille rated it it was amazing
Apr 23, 2015
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Gayle Johns rated it really liked it
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A.J. "Jack" Langguth is Professor Emeritus of the the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California and an American author and journalist. In addition to his non-fiction work, he is the author of several dark, satirical novels. A graduate of Harvard College, Langguth was South East Asian correspondent and Saigon bureau chief for "The New York Times" during the Vietnam war. He was a ...more
More about A.J. Langguth...

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