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Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,926 ratings  ·  124 reviews
The extraordinary story of Andrew Jackson—the colorful, dynamic, and forceful president who ushered in the Age of Democracy and set a still young America on its path to greatness—told by the bestselling author of The First American.

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
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Hardcover, 640 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by Doubleday (first published September 6th 2005)
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Mara
The Hero of New Orleans, Old Hickory, King Andrew — Andrew Jackson's varied sobriquets belie the daunting task for his potential biographers, and I think H.W. Brands managed to rise to the occasion. Jackson was most definitely a man who contained multitudes, and Brands manages to put it all out there without proselytising.

It's much more difficult to evaluate Andrew Jackson the man than it is the book. Aside from the fact that his legend and legacy have come to represent an array of polarized pos
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Jason Koivu
Andrew Jackson, one of the most unqualified US Presidents ever. I respect his military service, but the guy just wasn't cut out for the job.

Brands has put together a solid bio in Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times. Though it did nothing to dissuade my low opinion of his political prowess, I would still recommend this as a good read, especially if you're interested in Jackson.
Paul
Excellent bio. I flew through this gripping account of one of our more controversial presidents. Jackson looms large in my hometown of Tallahassee. He’s celebrated at our annual spring festival (growing up my family was fairly active as members of a float crew) and he always inspires protest. And of course, as a graduate of Florida State, I’m reminded of his, uh, regional achievements every time I do the Seminole chop.

It’s easy to pick Old Hickory apart in order to reconstruct the man into what
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Andrew
This is the second book I’ve read on Jackson in the last 18 months. For more on the Presidency and less on his former life--take a look at Meacham's book, American Lion. I must admit that issues like Biddle and bank crisis make my eyes glaze over.

One of the exciting things about this book for me was discovering the contexts of Jackson’s life. I tend to view history as this set of discrete facts, tenuously connected by time. But reading Jackson truly highlighted the interconnectedness of it all.
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Bookmarks Magazine

Critics agree that even though there's mild interest in the life of President Andrew Jackson, the author who could spark a forest fire of curiosity would be acclaimed biographer, H. W. Brands, who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin. In tackling the life and times of Jackson, Brands doesn't overlook any of the controversial aspects of "Old Hickory" and his history. Who remembered that Jackson killed a man for disrespecting his wife, was fiercely protective of his honor, and adored veto

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Lauren Albert
I was torn between a 3 and a 4 for this. My main criticism is that the book should have had broader coverage of the time since it is called Andrew Jackson: His Life and TIMES. Brands should have given some background, for instance, on the currency issue since it is something very important to Jackson's presidency. But I learned some interesting things--the succession issue came up long before the civil war and didn't have anything to do with slavery but with tariffs. Since the South was a net im ...more
rmn
This is a hard book to review because it suffers from two inherent flaws:

1. It is a 560 page single volume biography of a man who lived to be 78 years old. So the author can either write on average 7 pages per year of Jackson’s life or skip through many periods. Obviously the author chooses the latter as after ~100 pages Jackson is already ~30 years old and a Senator from Tennessee. So in trying to cram Jackson’s life into one volume, his childhood is almost completely left alone.

2. Jackson was
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Caleb Gibson
A while back my Mother was reading about our family history and discovered that she was related to Andrew Jackson. It was a very amazing discovery for our family! To have a $20 and realize that it is a picture of your cousin is a pretty cool feeling. Because of this my Aunt Peggy had bought this book and gave it to my grandparents. I had always had the desire to read this. And I finally got the chance to. It was very good detailed book of his entire life. When it talks about his life and time, i ...more
Kevin
There was a lot of interesting history in the early years of the Republic, and Andrew Jackson seemed to be a part of a lot of it. So imagine how interesting it's going to get when I finally get to the part where he becomes President! I always learned a lot about the American Revolution but there were a lot of fascinating things happening in the years immediately after, too. So far I'm only at the lead-up to the War of 1812, before he makes his *big* break, but I can't put this book down. Except ...more
Andrew
This was a excellent biography of Andrew Jackson making a book that could have been boring into a exciting and interesting story of this presidents life. I would recommend it to anyone that is into historical biographies, odds are you will learn facts about Andrew Jackson you may have never known before with this indept bio.
Kyle Slavetsky
This biography of General Andrew Jackson is a stunning masterpiece. The depth Mr. Brands takes in this biography and the detail he uses to portray the General is fabulous!

General Jackson is the only early Presidents to be ranked with General Washington in the esteem of his country men. Mr. Brands shows this, and also the Generals firery temper. His love for his wife Rachel Jackson, their controversial marriage (which is still shrowded in mystery to this day) her death and the people he blamed.

It
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Ken
This is an interesting and readable biography of a sometimes contradictory subject. As with so many presidential biographies, the “pre-presidential” years are the most interesting, as we learn how Jackson earned his reputation and his chronic injuries. The presidential years dwell somewhat on dry subjects such as the federal bank.

Most interesting about Jackson are his contradictions, he favored states rights and then fought to preserve the union. He knew Indians on a personal level better than a
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Richard
H.W. Brands is a prolific author of history/non-fiction, with several critically acclaimed biographies published before the Jackson story, including "T.R." about Theodore Roosevelt, and "Traitor to His Class" about Franklin Roosevelt. He is able to get a ton of detail about Jackson's busy life into this one-volume, 560 pages of text, covering the life of the Seventh President.

Jackson was the first person to become president who was not born into Southern planter aristocracy or Northern Yankee g
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Blair Andrews
Andrew Jackson may be the most important American not yet exhumed in the rush to learn from the leading lights of our early history. If so, it makes sense that H.W. Brands is leading the charge toward his rediscovery. For one thing, Brands teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, in a state that might well be an independent republic if not for Jackson. For another, over the past decade Brands has proven himself a bloodhound with a nose for tracking down subjects ahead of the pack. There hav ...more
Steven Peterson
Andrew Jackson was a major figure in American history from his service in the War of 1812 through his presidency. And even in retirement after his departure from Washington, D. C., he was still an important figure in American politics.

His life parallelled the American development from a new nation to one that was rapidly developing during his presidency and thereafter.

This book deals with the highs (military victories, political victories, a great ambition being matched by great accomplishment
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Matt
Brands is an eminently readable historian. This is my third book of his, and reading each has been time well spent. Jackson strikes me as one of our 10 or so most significant presidents, if one of the two most frightening (TR being the other in the pair). Jackson was our first true Democrat and democrat, and a strong Unionist whose blue print for succession suppression was obviously well-known to Abe Lincoln.

I've frequently called Jackson a mean old bastard for his policy and treatment of nativ
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Tim Weakley
One of the areas I had wanted to read about this year was American history and I had the thought that viewing it from the top down might be an interesting way in which to do it. That object prompted me to start looking at things from the point of view of the different Presidents. Jackson covered a time period of which I was not overly familiar and this book looked interesting from the beginning. It really did not disappoint! One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the gradual progres ...more
Wallace Kaufman
For those who like their politicians pure, don't read this dose of reality. For those who know of Jackson only that he was a populist and that his inauguration chaos with its thousands of rude/crude rowdies--this will explain how that came about and that in many ways it signalled the first great democratization of national politics.

Jackson, almost as much as Washington, changed and preserved the on-going process of democratizing America. Sure, he was a slave holder, disobeyed orders as a milita
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Larry
Enjoyed the book, don't care much for Jackson. Find that while I admire extension of democracy to the "everyman" I don't admire the folks who first championed the extenstion, i.e. Jefferson and Jackson. That's probably blasphomy in reference to Jefferson, but he was the epitomy of the manipulating politician who got others to carry his load while he seemingly stayed out of the fray. His early refusal to come to Philadelphia durikng Washington's first term was a real problem for operation of the ...more
Alice Of Wonderland


Ahhh! Old Hickory! Despite my knowledge before reading this book, I found some events quite interesting and insightful.

Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times is not usual cup of tea. I thought it would be boring and endless by its amount of pages. I prefer biographies around four hundred pages. Not six or seven hundred. Or somewhere around there. Long biographies usually 'talk' too much for my liking.

Unlike my thoughts, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times was entertaining and amusing while also be
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Steve
http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2013/...

“Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times” is H.W. Brands’s 2005 biography of our seventh president. Brands is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a prolific author. He has written nearly thirty books on a wide range of historical topics, including biographies of Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt and Aaron Burr. He is also the author of one of my favorite non-biography history books: “Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Inde
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Diane
I seem to be working my way through the presidents on CD. This was only okay. The reader was right on the edge of spoiling the book for me - he read too fast I think. However, the text was really not that great either. HOWEVER, since I knew next to nothing about Andrew Jackson and that period of history, I found it worthwhile to listen to. I was most interested in Jackson's personal story, which we have mostly only hints about. He did seem to be of a stereotypical frontier mentality who solved p ...more
Nathan
Brands' overarching theme in this long book is the democratization of American politics. So broad and complex a theme begs the question that this ought to be properly called a mere biography, but the scope lends another perspective on the seventh president.
Brands doesn't attempt to put a new face on the well-known figure of Jackson as stormy man of honor; the arguments, the invective, the duels, will be familiar to any one acquainted with Jackson's life. What Brands does is to paint the scene i
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Bill Simpson
Completed: June 2008

I found this to be an excellent book, fairly objectively written, containing many quoted passages. There was enthusiasm displayed about Jackson by the author, Dr. Brands, that didn't get carried away into what might be deemed as hero worship. Not all that occurred in Jackson's life was what one would consider "correct" today, and he certainly wasn't concerned about being politically correct in his actions, which Dr. Brands brings out in his writting.

I am definitely glad that
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Brittany
Jul 21, 2011 Brittany is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This is my very first biography that I have ever read, so this should be interesting. Apparently he was a raving lunatic. When the book gets around the whole Indian situation, it should get really awkward.

I received this book as a joke gift because of my own stupidity. I was doing the whole tour around Pensacola's historic landmark Ft. Pickens (I must say, tour guide Barbie would have been proud).

Friend- "Wasn't the fort built at the beginning of WWI?"
Me-"No, no the fort is much older than tha
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Caroline
For me Andrew Jackson has always been one of those 'interim' Presidents, who held office between my two main eras of interest: George Washington and the Revolution and Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. I knew of him but only in the course of retrospective analysis: the similarities between the South Carolina nullification crisis and the onset of the Civil War; his tussles with the greats of the age who lingered on in subsequent years to play a part again in the run-up to the Civil War, men like ...more
Christine
A very enjoyable book about Andrew Jackson by one of my favorite historians. Andrew Jackson was certainly a forceful man who was more than ready to back up his words at the end of a gun (or sword or cannon). He was truly the first "common man" to become president.



There is a great deal about him that is distasteful, especially from the view of today's morals. He was an unapolegetc slave owner and his treatment of the Native Americans was appalling. Still I found my self liking him despite these
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Dave Ginger
I've read several Jackson biographies - he's a remarkably interesting character....teenager held captive during the Revolutionary War...street fighting and duels...planter...war hero...surprisingly-effective President. Brands presents a fair overview of Jackson's life - highlighting the good (leadership in the War of 1812) along with the bad (Indian Removal Act). If you're looking for a broad overview of Jackson's life - this is a fine choice
Scott
I've strongly recommended this book a few times and some folks find it on the dull side. I most definitely did not find it dull.

Received it as a Christmas present and devoured it. Andrew Jackson was not without faults, which I think Brands treats fairly, but his strength of character and conviction were admirable. It amazes me that a backwoods orphan could become president and this book takes the reader through every bump. Jackson's life was as impressive as it was tragic. A self-made man doesn
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Ross Cohen
With thorough research enlivened by well-paced prose, H. W. Brands has crafted a fine biography of Andrew Jackson.

Nevertheless, Jackson emerges from this biography as complex and controversial as ever.

If Washington can be likened to a monument inspiring awe and Lincoln to a log cabin – folksy, but sturdy – Jackson is a stone fortress: an unyielding defender of the Union, inspiring a rough kind of respect but not love.
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Henry William Brands was born in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he went to California for college. He attended Stanford University and studied history and mathematics. After graduating he became a traveling salesman, with a territory that spanned the West from the Pacific to Colorado. His wanderlust diminished after several trips across the Great Basin, and he turned to sales of a differen ...more
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