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Life of Andrew Jackson Review by Kathy Gelzer

EditedEdited by John S. Jenkins
New Leaf Publishing Group
PO Box 726
Green Forest, AR 72638

This hardcover reproduction, originally published in 1850, of a biography of our seventh president retains a vintage feel with its old-fashioned font and deckled pages. Its 395 pages cover the entire life of Andrew Jackson in 13 chapters. Each chapter conveniently begins with a short synopsis comprising a sentence summation of each of the chapter's paragraphs. Beginning and ending years for the time period the chapter are also included.

The first chapter covers Jackson's birth and childhood, and chapter two covers his marriage and early career. The bulk of the book, chapters three through nine cover Jackson's generalship in the War of 1812 in detail. Chapter ten covers the end of the war and the early post-war years, chapter eleven covers his presidency, and chapter twelve covers his last years and his legacy. The thirteenth chapter is made up of 12 original speeches and documents, including Jackson's Inaugural Address, his Farewell Address, and his last will and testament.

As you might guess, this is not a quick, easy read, but the writing is beautiful. Here is a description of Andrew Jackson's 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." If you have the time, this would be an excellent addition to your early American studies. I would wish for an index so you could turn to specific events at will.

This is largely a book for upper grades or adults to read on their own or a book for mothers or fathers to read to their children. I have a romantic image of a large family gathered around the fireplace on winter evenings, listening to Mother read this tome. The prose lends itself beautifully to being read aloud.

War buffs would like this book, and it would make a lovely gift for a high school graduate pursuing a degree in history, political science, or law. Three other books in the series are biographies of Luther, Washington, and John Knox.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2011