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Paper Biographies

Robert V. Remini | Brustein, The Passions of Andrew Jackson | Bibliographies

Robert V. Remini

Amazon. The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V. Remini. This is the one-volume version of his definitive three-volume life. It is an engrossing, fascinating read.

Remini's three-volume biography has recently been reprinted. Here Amazon links to Volume 1: Andrew Jackson and The Course of American Empire, 1767-1821, Volume 2: Andrew Jackson and The Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832 and Volume 3: Andrew Jackson and The Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845.

Brustein, The Passions of Andrew Jackson

Amazon. The Passions of Andrew Jackson by Andrew Brustein. (publisher's blurb). Brustein's take is revisionary.

"Not the Same Old Hickory: The contested legacy of Andrew Jackson" review by Amy H. Sturgis, from Reason (May 2004).

"Burstein tells a story of how Jackson used his power against those he disdained (the physically weak or culturally different, the "dishonorable," Native Americans, blacks, and others), and how his bullying violence and uncontrolled temper eventually transformed U.S. policy in what became an "avenging" presidency. …"
"Particularly telling is Burstein's insight that it was not enough for Jackson to win; his opponents had to fail."

Brustein interview, appeared on StudioTulsa (April 20, 2004). On why he wrote it:

"… no one had really written a re-evaluation of Jackson in a whole generation, and all that we have on bookshelves… has been a highly patriotic, celebratory—hero of New Orleans. This kind of traditional biography was fine, but it certainly doesn't tell the whole story of the violent frontier that shaped Andrew Jackson, and how an individual who comes out of this physical as well as psychological environment could become associated with the popular will, and a 19th century vision of expansionist democracy."
Brustein comes off as a something of an intellectual weenie, mistaking his own failure to understand for a unique interpretive advantage:
"How did a man with so little education—and he really was virtually unschooled—feel that he was qualified to lead the nation? What makes him perplexing is that he really lacked the intellectual capability to be a political leader, and yet he was so absolutely confident in his instinctive ability to form judgments, and radically change the way politics was conducted. … And how does somebody like that become a popular hero when there's so many highly-educated, beautiful orators on the floor of the Senate and the House scrambling to be president—how come this guy who literally can't spell—how did he capture the popular imagination and how did he capture a majority of the votes?"

Reviewed by Mary Young, Washington Post (March 16, 2003). "But Remini's masterful command of the scholarship of the field sometimes makes his account of the results of Jackson's behavior the more reliable. For instance, two generations of bankers and economists have demonstrated that attributing the Panic of 1837 to Jackson exaggerates what the president could accomplish; Burstein offhandedly blames Jackson anyway."

"Burstein regards history as the recovery of memory for political purposes. His estimate of Jackson's model, or its legacy of expansionism, might explain our current leaders' attempts to control the world, by bombast if possible, by force if necessary. Despite his militance, his bombast, his expansionism and his uncritical patriotism, Jackson could act not only courageously but rationally. When it suited him, he knew how to promote reconciliation and avoid conflict. One may hope that this aspect of his legacy survives as well."

"Unvarnished portrait of Andy Jackson" review by Emmett Reeder, The Decatur (Alabama) Daily (April 13, 2003).

"This book should be required reading for those who believe that only the present generation of politicians are petty and corrupt, and believe that the 18th and 19th century politicians were noble, wise and far-sighted statesmen."

"A Hero Who Saw It All His Way" review by Richard Brookhiser, New York Times (February 25, 2003).

"The Passions of Andrew Jackson" offers a challenging, disturbing portrait of a democratic hero, and an equally challenging case study of the democratic system."

Review of The Passions of Andrew Jackson by Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs (May/June 2003).

"Brustein has the talent, industry, and command of the archival sources to become a powerful voice in a historical movement that will place the neglected but formative years between 1824 and 1860 back where they belong: at the center of America's historical self-understanding."

BookPage review by Roger Bishop, Brustein "effectively dissects Jackson's correspondence"

Review by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. from the New York Review of Books (May 15, 2003) is only available to subscribers, or for $4 down.

Short review by Dana Jones: "I had no idea Jackson was such a jerk"


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Good medium-length bibliography.

Scholarly bibliography from the Hermitage. This isn't an everything-Jackson bibliography. There's Jackson, of course, and the Hermitage, but also various topics in Jacksonian America.

Amazon. Andrew Jackson: A Bibliography by Robert V. Remini, Robert O. Rupp (Bibliographies of the Presidents of the United States). Amazon's confused about this, apparently believing it to be a version of Remini's Biography. Anyway, I'm girding my loins to believe the bibliography is not available in audiobook format. (THAT would be a snore.)

Bibliography on Andrew Jackson. Compiled by Donald J. Mabry. The biography seems to have been done mechanically; it may nevertheless bring something to your attention.

A short bibliography for college students (Jacksonian period and slavery) enrolled in Eric Foner's The United States In The Era Of Slavery And Jacksonian Democracy, 1815-1850 .

KIPNotes bibliography. Machine-collected?

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like these other sites by me:

Alexander Hamilton on the Web. All about Alexander Hamilton, founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury.

D-Day on the Web. Comprehensive directory of resources about the allied invasion of Normandy.