Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Book Review: The Life of Andrew Jackson
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.