James K. Polk, Vol. 1: Jacksonian, 1795-1843 by Charles Grier Sellers is the first volume in a proposed trilogy studying the 11th President of the United States. Mr. Sellers is a historian, a Southern liberal specializing in antebellum America.
- 550 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Language: English
- ISBN: 9780691652931
My rating for James K. Polk, Vol. 1: Jacksonian– 3
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This book tells of the rise of James K. Polk in Tennessee and the national, political scene due to his wits and connections with President Andrew Jackson. Much of the book talks about Polk, Jackson, and others opposing banks and paper money.
In much of James K. Polk, Vol. 1 by Charles Grier Sellers, the titled man takes a back seat to the huge figure of Jackson. The author tells of the rise of Andrew Jackson and an analysis of the political debates which were the hot topics of the time.
Polk himself takes a backseat and often isn’t even mentioned for many pages. However, once he becomes Speaker of the House, Polk returns to the forefront of his own biography.
Much of the book examines why Jackson, Polk, and their supporters opposed banks and paper money. While the narrative could be dry at times, the research and analysis are solid and I managed to understand their views very well. To be honest, I liked Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter R. Borneman much better.
But this book doesn’t even reach Polk’s presidency. The majority focuses on local politics, Van Buren’s New York politics, and of course the politics of the state of Tennessee. While some of it is interesting, it slows down the book tremendously. The ending is supposedly a cliffhanger, where James K. Polk finds himself ousted after losing, again, the governor’s office, and hoping to gain the vice president’s office.
We, however, know what’s coming.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I bought this book.
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