Ray Campbell's Reviews > Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America

Polk by Walter R. Borneman
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2012
Read from April 09 to 11, 2012

This is dry, dead white guy history. This is the kind of history that people who hate history HATE. However, Polk rocked. He was a one term president we learn very little about in the usual high school history class. However, Polk presided over the annexation of Texas, the acquisition of Oregon, California and most of the Southwest. In addition, he lowered taxes and setup the national treasury. Polk is wildly influential and important. And, if that weren't enough to justify a few hours of reading, this biography is a really good story. It begins with Andrew Jackson since Polk was something of a protege and progresses through the war with Mexico in Texas and California. A 19th century presidential biography with real love, romance and men marching into battle - very engaging.

Not for those who hate history. But if you find delight in finding out about stuff you should know and are pleased when it isn't hard to read or understand, this is a good book.

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Reading Progress

04/09/2012 page 80
04/09/2012 page 80
18.0% "Straight forward history - I like it. It isn't as personal or sentimental as McCullough's Truman or TR, nor Edmund Morris' Dutch, but I suppose Borneman has less material to go on for those kinds of details. So far we've simply covered his political career to the late 1830s."
04/10/2012 page 224
50.0% "OK - He is president and war with Mexico is looming while we take stands on Oregon and California against Russia, Britain and France. Exciting period in our march to WORLD DOMINATION!!!!! OK, kidding (sort of). If I lived then I'd probably be protesting, but knowing how it all turned out, it's exciting to learn how it happened."
04/10/2012 page 300
67.0% "Marching across the newly acquired territories."

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