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Buy for $19.95
Many Americans view Andrew Jackson as a frontiersman who fought duels, killed Indians, and stole another man's wife. Historians have traditionally presented Jackson as a man who struggled to overcome the obstacles of his backwoods upbringing and helped create a more democratic United States. In his compelling new biography of Jackson, Mark R. Cheathem argues for a reassessment of these long-held views, suggesting that in fact "Old Hickory" lived as an elite southern gentleman. In fact, Cheathem contends, Jackson had already started to assume the characteristics of a southern gentleman by the time he arrived in Middle Tennessee in 1788.
After moving to Nashville, Jackson further ensconced himself in an exclusive social order by marrying the daughter of one of the city's cofounders, engaging in land speculation, and leading the state militia. Cheathem notes that through these ventures Jackson grew to own multiple plantations and cultivated them with the labor of almost 200 slaves. His status also enabled him to build a military career focused on eradicating the nation's enemies, including Indians residing on land desired by white southerners. Jackson's military success eventually propelled him onto the national political stage in the 1820s, where he won two terms as president.
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I remember as a child, General Jackson was a hero of mine because he won the battle of New Orleans. Over the years I had read many books about Jackson including Jon Meacham’s “American Lion” and began to view him as a far more complex person than my childhood images.
Cheatham’s new book “Andrew Jackson, Southerner” evaluates Jackson from a different viewpoint. After all any new book on Jackson would require the author to say something new. Jackson had been portrayed as a rugged frontier Indian fighter. Cheatham suggests that even before he moved from South Carolina to Nashville Tennessee he had become southern gentility.
Cheatham condensed the earlier years of Jackson and spent more time on details on his life as a planter, slave broker and politician. He covers his treatment of the Native Americans as both a general and a president. As a general he killed them and as a president he took their land and relocated them to reservations in the Oklahoma territory.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. Cheatham culled the information to emphasize the point he was making. Jackson was more or less typical for his time and place. I keep reminding myself not to judge the past by our current values and viewpoint. Overall this is a worthwhile book to read and a look at a President from a different viewpoint from prior history books.
Trevor Thompson does a good job narratoring the book.
7 people found this helpful
Lesser Work than HW Brands or John Meacham's books
The narrator is awesome, this guy went all out. Great job.
The book is basically less well written than other books I have read about Jackson. The writer gives no detail on the awesome story about the defense of New Orleans. Jackson basically defeated British generals and soldiers that had just beaten Napoleon.
The writer also gives zero credit on how Jackson basically conquered the south for the USA and the extreme danger that existed in the South during the period. The Spanish, Brits, and French wanted it and all the USA had was Granny JQ Adams making treaties with people that had zero intentions of keeping them. So, no mention of a rogue state in Florida. British agents for insurrection become missionaries in this book.
In a nutshell, this is a Snow Flake history book that mostly smears Jackson. Also, the author is a racialist, so you get non-stop demonetization of the USA for not being friendly to non-white opponents. Were they friendly, nope. Not any more friendly than Romans conquering Gaul or Turks conquering Anatolia. But in those books, we just get the story, not revision.
4 people found this helpful