Life of Jackson
My high schooler will read this for American hist.
Life of Andrew Jackson edited by John Jenkins is another in a "new" series of books put out by Attic Books. This "Life of" series currently consists of five titles, and I own all but Life of Luther. I reviewed Life of John Knox awhile back.
This series is reprinting old biographies of some pretty fascinating people. I remarked in my review of John Knox that the language was challenging and you really needed to be paying attention. With that in mind, I was really leery of Jackson, as this book is almost three times as long as Knox.
I didn't need to worry. The language, while sometimes sounding a bit outdated, is easy to understand. Some of the quotes take a second reading, but not many.
As for the narrative, well, I was eagerly turning pages. I knew a bit about Andrew Jackson. A bit. You know, he was president number 7, he was from "the west" and he was a big name at the Battle of New Orleans. Maybe I knew a bit more... but not a whole lot.
This book started me off saying, "I didn't know that" from the very start. Like the fact that Jackson fought in the Revolutionary War -- and was a POW besides. He lost his entire family to that war (his father had died before Jackson was born).
I was fascinated by the chapters on the War of 1812 -- a war I really know very little about. Maybe my boys are rubbing off on me, but the discussion of his battle strategies were well told and really, that was the point where I did not want to put the book down.
This is a title I am going to have my oldest read while studying American history in the coming year.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
July 25, 2011
A Controversial, Courageous Leader
The Battle of New Orleans.
Seventh president of the United States of America.
"Whatever may be the views in regard to his merits as a warrior, or his abilities as a statesman, his conduct in both capacities was such as must necessarily command attention. His admirers will always be eager to discover some new object for their remembrance and regard; while those who are unwilling to approve his course, either in the camp or the cabinet, will feel impelled, from curiosity, if from no other motive, to examine the incidents of his memorable life." John S. Jenkins, A.M. in Life of Andrew Jackson - originally published in 1850, re-published in February 2011 by Attic Books.
Jackson Square--a familiar site to me. Did I really understand what caused the people of New Orleans to erect that famous statue so many years ago? No. Not until reading Life of Andrew Jackson, that is.
Though he was a controversial man, this biography is full of historical recountings of his wilderness, military and presidential battles. This man inspired and instilled courage in anyone who joined him in battle. He stood strong against overwhelming opposition, and his never-give-up/no-excuses attitude led troops in repeatedly defeating much larger and better supplied foes than themselves. Because of this great man, I am now blessed to work in the beautiful, unique city of New Orleans. Had he backed down when facing daunting odds, as most would have done, I would not have had the joy of falling in love with a city and a people the way I have with my beloved NOLA. (New Orleans, La - get it?)
Did you know that during his time battling the Indians, he actually brought home to his wife an abandoned Indian baby boy and adopted him and they raised him as if the boy was their own?
During the days and swampy battles leading up to the Battle of New Orleans, according to John S. Jenkins, "It was unnecessary for their general (Andrew Jackson) to encourage and allure them to deeds of valor: his own example was sufficient to excite them. Always in their midst, he was cool and collected. Unmindful of danger, he continued to remind his troops that they had often said they could fight, and now was the time to prove it."
When speaking to his men after The Battle of New Orleans, the great General Jackson is quoted in this book as saying, "Who, that never experienced your sufferings, will be able to appreciate your joys? The man who slumbered ingloriously at home, during your painful marches, your nights of watchfulness, and your days of toil, will envy you the happiness which these recollections will afford--still more will he envy the gratitude of that country, which you have so eminently contributed to save."
Whatever your opinion of him, this book is packed full of detailed recounts of the uncountable battles Andrew Jackson faced from the time of his difficult family losses in boyhood throughout his time leading the Tennessee Volunteers and all the way through his presidency and even to his death.
Though it is a straining,difficult read at times due to the paragraph structure akin to books written in the 1800's, this historic biography is definitely worth the read.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Attic Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
June 6, 2011
Beautifully Bound History
When I decided to write book reviews for various publishers, in exchange for free books, I thought it would be loads of fun. I found instead, that I read much slower when I know I have to write a review...I take notes...and it can take some of the joy out of it. Such was the case with Life of Andrew Jackson by John S. Jenkins, A.M. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd been reading it at my leisure instead of for review.
First off, I'd like to say that this book is beautiful. It's bound in a stately blue with those raggedy, antiqued pages. I love it...I'd love to have a bunch of them on my shelves. It enhanced the reading experience to be holding such a nicely bound volume in my hands.
I enjoyed the accounting of Andrew Jackson's early days much more than his days in politics. I'll admit that I got VERY bogged down in all of the speeches and documents from his days as president and beyond.
My favorite part of the book is where they speak of his mother, "She possessed many excellent qualities, both of head and heart; and her children were, early in life, deeply imbued with the straight forward resoluteness of purpose, and Spartan heroism of character, for which she was distinguished. Among the many noble mothers, whose sons have reaped the rich harvest of renown springing from the seed planted by their hands, none deserve higher praise or commendation." That was amazingly inspiring to me!
She indeed raised a great son. Andrew Jackson went to battle at the age of 14. He married and ardently loved his wife, turning down a high position in Europe because he wanted to be buried beside her. He fought in all sorts of horrific battles...against the British and the Indians. I was touched by how, after one battle, he took an infant Indian baby, and nursing it on honey, took it home to his wife and raised it as his own son. In a similar case, he helped stitch up a young Indian brave and then sent him to his wife, to regain health, and started him in business. He fought valiantly for "the cause" but was also incredibly just and humane. A difficult balance...I was surprised.
Some of the writing from his times in Washington are bombastic and pompous. One eulogy had me giggling...if I was Andrew Jackson I couldn't have sat through the ridiculous glories they were heaping upon him. I guess that's not really too different from how people exalt different candidates during campaigns nowadays though. They probably use slightly smaller vocabulary words but...still ridiculous glories that no man could ever hope to measure up to entirely.
Overall, a good read and it will look lovely on my shelf.
I received this book free from the New Leaf Publishing Group, Inc in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
April 19, 2011
A great introduction to our 7th President
The Life of Andrew Jackson is one in a series of 'Life of" books (Luther, Knox, Washington) from New Leaf Publishing and Attic Books. It is the telling of his life about 13 years after his death. Providing great insight and exploring his life from the time of his youth up to the last words before his death, it is a great history of our 7th president.
Nicknamed "Old Hickory" because of his tough demeanor and aggressiveness, he is at best a conflicted individual and at worst very controversial. On one hand Jackson aided in moving Native American Indians to the West and supported slavery, on the other, his last words on his death bed expressed his great hope in Jesus as his Savior and his deep religious affections.
A successful frontiersman in the early days of our nations history, a governor, senator, supreme court justice and President of the United States, The Life of Andrew Jackson is a great overview of this president.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Leaf Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
April 5, 2011