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Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,177 ratings  ·  242 reviews
Jacksonland is the thrilling narrative history of two men—President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee chief John Ross—who led their respective nations at a crossroads of American history. Five decades after the Revolutionary War, the United States approached a constitutional crisis. At its center stood two former military comrades locked in a struggle that tested the boundaries ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Penguin Press
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,177 ratings  ·  242 reviews

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Clif Hostetler
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is non-fiction history about the decades-long saga of politics, legal maneuvering, and greed that concluded in the grand tragedy of the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia in 1838, commonly remembered today as the "Trail of Tears." This book describes this era of history largely through the stories of two of the most able leaders on both sides—Andrew Jackson, the seventh president; and John Ross, the “principal chief” of the Cherokee.

One of the lessons I learned from this presenta
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is ironic that Andrew Jackson, a murderer, kidnapper, slave owner, slave trader, land speculator acting on inside information, and last but not least, the cruel architect of Indian genocide, should hold such a revered place in the pantheon of American presidents - so much so, that when the question arose of who’s image to replace on money, it was the image of Hamilton that garnered the most attention. [Ironic as well, since it was Jackson who was obsessively opposed to a federal bank, vetoing ...more
This is the early 19th century history of the Cherokee Nation, the original owners in residence of the land the author, Steve Inskeep, calls “Jacksonland”.

While treaties confirmed by federal policy guaranteed the Cherokees rights and land, President Andrew Jackson found every excuse to procrastinate when it came to enforcement. Speaking of the “humanitarianism” and the “welfare” of the Indian people, President Jackson worked to free their lands for federal distribution.

Inskeep shows how prior to
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's a fascinating history. I still can't see Jackson as anything other than a complete ass.
Wayland Smith
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This post might get a bit political. It also deals with a few issues many Americans prefer not to think about too much. If either of those bother you, you may wish to skip this.

The history of the American government dealing with Indians (yeah, I don't use Native American, sue me) is a long ugly tale of lies, betrayal, and unfair practices at best. One of the worst examples of this was Andrew Jackson, a President who many compare with Donald Trump. That's troubling on many levels.

Jackson was a
marcus miller
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read this I wish I could have sat and listened to Inskeep talk with Brett Riggs, Tom Belt, and Andrew Denson, men who gave input at an NEH seminar on the Cherokee I was able to attend last year. Inskeep examines the events leading to the removal of the Cherokee by exploring the two key personalities involved, Andrew Jackson and John Ross. The two shared similarities, Scotch-Irish backgrounds, views of progress and democracy, yet there were also differences, chief among them, Ross’s Cherokee ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jacksonland is well written and supported by excellent research. History unfolds in this work to document Andrew Jackson's desire to remove the Indians (Cherokee, Creek, and Seminoles) from their traditional homelands and moved farther west. He did this, in part, for personal gain. I was surprised by the fact of his personal enrichment. And not only for himself but for his friends as well.

Jackson bullied, lied, deceived, and used force to accomplish his goal. He ignored the U.S. Supreme Court's
Paul Womack
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best review of this marvelous book is the author's last paragraph: "This book has been a joy to write, even though it tells a difficult story. It is about my country, which makes it a love story. Of the many ways to show one's love, one of the best is to tell the truth." The book was hard to read, because it is a difficult story, but I so appreciate the truth in the telling.
Andrew Jackson may be getting a bit of a revival thanks to President Trump's hamfisted attempts to draw parallels between himself and Old Hickory. Before making this effort, President Trump would have been well-advised to have read Steve Inskeep's "Jacksonland," Inskeep's fascinating review of President Jackson's fight to clear millions of acres of land in the American south for safe American settlement.

That anodyne statement glosses over the fact that, in order to make the land safe for settlem
Sarah Holz
For a relatively compact nonfiction work, I found a distracting lack of focus at times. Inskeep set out for himself an ambitious but laudable goal of essentially writing a joint biography of Andrew Jackson and John Ross, though I didn't feel I left the narrative knowing a great deal more about either men. For Ross that might be a dearth of source material, but even Jackson didn't feel particularly fleshed out.

Part of this is due to digressions to follow the paths of other people involved in the
Wesley Roth
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I originally heard about the book after seeing the author Steve Inskeep promoting his book on Twitter and then read some early reviews, in which they praised the book. I saw it at Booksamillion the day it came out, but passed, then went ahead and bought it a few days later at Mitzi's Books. I am so glad I did!

Inskeep does a masterful job of bringing the reader into the story, establishing both Andrew Jackson and John Ross as giants in their own time, in their own way. It was fasinating to learn
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: firstreads
I got a copy of this through First to Read.

At the beginning, this felt like a side-by-side summary of Ross' and Jackson's lives. Each had a perfunctory chapter towards the beginning to get at their background and what drove their characters. And there was a great deal of discussion of real estate that I didn't catch, not understanding the boundaries that were clearly described but not drawn out. But then after the first 100 pages, the book developed and blossomed into a true biography of an idea
Lane Willson
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a kid, seeing my hometown, Athens, Tennessee, in print via anything larger in scope than The Daily Post-Athenian, was always exciting. However, the three mentions of Athens in Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep was quite sad. Calhoun, a neighboring McMinn County community to Athens, was an embarkation point for Cherokees moved in the late 1830’s, and apparently Athens offered the nearest printing press.

There was li
If you ever start to get that feeling that politics, corruption, and civil rights are reaching a new low then you need to go read some history books. This is one of those books. Steve Inskeep gives a damning account of how the US government (in particular, President Andrew Jackson) was complicit in the theft of Cherokee land by the state of Georgia. I checked out the audiobook and the e-book from the library and alternated between them. Steve Inskeep narrates the book and of course does a great ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, to-purchase
Although I enjoy listening to this book's author, Steve Inskeep, on NPR, I worried that the book would lean more towards an examination of white guilt than towards actual history.

I'm glad to report I was wrong. I found this book engaging, engrossing, and educating without being overbearing, heavy-handed, or even overtly moralistic.

Inskeep shows not just Jackson and Ross but also all the other minor players in the drama as people of their time to be understood in the circumstances of the day. H
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Everyone knows about Andrew Jackson. Everyone knows about the Trail of Tears. But who's ever heard of John Ross? Steve Inskeep has, and in this book, he not only introduces this Cherokee Chief to us for the first time, but also narrates his relationship with the 7th president of the United States in the context of the overall struggle between the Civilized tribes, Georgia, and the federal government over Indian Policy. It's brilliantly written and truly enlightening, not only of Ross, but also o ...more
Peter Landau
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
JACKSONLAND: PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON, CHEROKEE CHIEF JOHN ROSS AND A GREAT AMERICAN LAND GRAP is the final book on my son’s summer reading list. He didn’t read it, but he’ll likely have to write a report on it or the time and people involved, so I read it. Honestly, I’m just looking for a system that will have me read books I would never pick up on my own, like this one. No offense to author and NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, but I kept hearing that annoying public radio voice in my he ...more
Bryan Craig
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a 3.5 rating. I learned a lot from this very readable account of Andrew Jackson, John Ross, and the fight over Cherokee land. One of the most interesting parts is how Jackson bought his own land. Since he was literally on the front lines as a general and he had a friend surveying the land, Jackson had a lot of inside information. He got rich from purchasing and renting Cherokee land. Fascinating.

Another interesting part of this story is the Cherokee removal. Without fast communications,
Michael Shore
Started this book a few years ago but never could finish this book because it was chapter after chapter of how awful a human being Andrew Jackson was, how he mistreated Native Americans and how he profited so much off his position. I can't really comment how well written this was, because i was getting so fed up with this horrible human being that I just could not take any more time to read about him. I got the picture very early on and could not justify my time to read more about this awful man ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, us-history
We often (at least in my studies of American history) overlook Jackson's presidency in favor of the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the whole of the twentieth century (there was a LOT going on in the twentieth century), skipping over what was, officially, a brief period of peace. During that peace, however, then-President Jackson ordered the removal of Native American tribes from their land; two tribes, notably, opposed the removal: the Seminoles fought a bloody war against Ameri ...more
John Bond
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good explanation of Jackson and the Trail of Tears.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A detailed description of the intrigue and infamy associated with "Indian removal" and the cooperation of certain Native Americans.
19th century ethnic cleansing for profit. jfcd2watch
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
We listened to Steve Inskeep read this audiobook on a road trip from Memphis to Florida for a beach vacation... And then as we drove to Atlanta to escape Hurricane Michael.

The book is good. To me, it seemed to focus more on the historical and political events leading up to the forced removal of Indians from the American South than on Andrew Jackson as a person. In that sense, the title may seem a little misleading.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
When most people think of Native American resistance to 'manifest destiny' and the relentless encroaching creep of white settlers across the spread of the American continent, they tend to think of the Plains Wars, with mounted braves against American troops, and scalping and massacres. The Cherokees took a different approach, fighting with law and order and treaties. But they still lost.

In many ways the Cherokee Nation was an example of the triumph of George Washington's policy towards the Nativ
Well-researched and readable, this does what it says on the cover: it looks at how a large chunk of the American South changed hands in the early nineteenth century, and how these two men influenced those events. I appreciated that, even though Jackson is an easily recognizable U.S. president and Ross is a fairly obscure figure in Native American history, Inskeep spends roughly equal time on each man. I felt he was fair to both of them, too - he never seemed mean-spirited about either one - and ...more
Ben Irvin
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I was initially attracted to this book after reading an opinion piece by its author, NPR's Steve Inskeep, comparing Jackson and Trump. Recommended for anyone who wants to fill in their understanding of Andrew Jackson and the national conflict over the displacement of native tribes from the Southeast US to free up land for the whites. You will learn about the complex and sophisticated relationships between Cherokees and the Federal government, the way Jackson got rich from cotton farming on lands ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A heartbreaking book about a President who fought a war against our country’s indigenous people and made land deals to benefit his own pocketbook. I learned a lot. “…Jackson’s career suggests a talented man thrashing about in the dark, trying to locate a ladder that no man of his background had ever climbed.” It is a mystery to me how America ended up with Andrew Jackson after the likes of Washington and Jefferson, but we did. Jackson described his strategy for cheating Indians out of their land ...more
Rosemary Ellis
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story is really the interwoven biographies of President Andrew Jackson and of John Ross, esteemed leader of the Cherokee Nation during Jackson's rise to power and presidency and during the eventual removal of the Cherokees from their homelands.

The book starts with somewhat typical, individual, non-overlapping biographies. As times goes on, the paths, careers and lives of the two leaders cross in many ways and the biographies come to weave more readily.

Many histories of the American settlers
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
A book rich in episodic history, thickly documented, and sprawling. The sprawl is the problem.

Inskeep presents what I think was intended to be a parallel biography of two leaders who begin as allies but move inexorably to direct and personal conflict. That design however suffers from a recurring and exhausting pattern of digression. Inskeep cannot seem to limit his attention to the main thread of Jackson and Ross moving into opposition, and nether can he seem to identify the keystone moments in
Justin Lonas
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A well-ordered and even-handed overview of the history of the steady defeat and exile of the "Five Civilized Tribes" of the Southeastern U.S. (Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole). Specifically, Inskeep zeroes in on the Cherokees, which made the book of particular interest to me as a Chattanoogan. I live on land that used to belong to that tribe, and Chief John Ross' former house is just five minutes from mine. Ross' 20-year chess game with federal and state governments receives a ...more
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Reading Along Wit...: Steve Inskeep: “Jacksonland” 1 8 May 21, 2015 06:30AM  
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Steve Inskeep (/ˈɪnskiːp/; born June 16, 1968) is one of the current hosts of Morning Edition on National Public Radio. He, along with co-host David Greene and Rachel Martin were assigned as interim hosts to succeed Bob Edwards after NPR reassigned Edwards to Senior Correspondent after April 30, 2004. Inskeep and Montagne were officially named hosts of Morning Edition in December 2004. (David Gree ...more
“One measure decreed that when ships docked at Charleston, any free black sailors on board must be jailed so they could not carry messages to black people onshore. When a Supreme Court justice found the imprisonments unconstitutional, South Carolina openly defied the ruling, saying that stopping “insubordination” was “paramount” to “all laws” and “all constitutions.” Baffled by this early example of a state nullifying federal law, national officials did nothing.” 2 likes
“Indian removal, Marshall’s ruling was the” 0 likes
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