An absorbing history, sweeping in scope, thrilling in incident, uncommonly well written and superbly read. One of the best audiobooks I have encountered.
I knew almost nothing about Jackson when I started this book except that he had been President and had something to do with New Orleans and Florida. Now I can almost picture him, calling for duels at the drop of a hat, training his horses, playing with his adopted son (and a baby lamb), urging on his troops, who returned his pride in them with fierce loyalty, sticking to his principles at the repeated risk of his career, and having arguably as much effect on the course of America's history as any of the Founders did. In telling Jackson's story, H.W. Brands also tells the story of his era, which was as noble, bellicose and preoccupied with principle as he was: shaped by war with Spain, Britain and American Indians, political friction between Federalists and Republicans, and the remorseless westward push that eventually stretched America from sea to shining sea. John H Mayer's narration is a treat, and does full justice to Brands' artfully structured yet utterly natural-sounding prose.
Jacobi reads beautifully (he played Claudius, one of the Caesars in question), but Naxos, the publisher, seems strangely coy about the translator--not even in its catalog does it reveal whose English version Jacobi is reading. It's certainly not the celebrated Robert Graves translation (for that go to the Audio Connoisseurs edition) but a far looser one, and, of course, heavily abridged. Information about the translator would seem a basic courtesy to the buyer. This buyer, at least, is disappointed by the lack of it.
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