The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson (Hardcover)

The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson By David S. Brown Cover Image
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A revelatory, timely, and masterful biography of President Andrew Jackson that offers a new perspective on this charismatic figure in the context of American populism—identifying the reasons for his unprecedented appeal as it shows us the man and politician in his full complexity.

A number of bestselling and award-winning biographies have been written about the seventh president of the US, but none have positioned Andrew Jackson so firmly in the forefront of the country’s populist tradition. Now, historian David S. Brown traces Jackson’s unusual life and legacy and sheds new light on his place in our nation’s history, focusing on his role as a popular leader.

Andrew Jackson rose from rural poverty to become the dominant figure in American politics between Jefferson and Lincoln. His reputation, however, defies easy description. Some regard him as the symbol of a powerful democratic movement that saw early 19th century suffrage restrictions recede for white men. Others stress his prominent role in removing Native American peoples from their ancestral lands, which were then opened to create a southern cotton kingdom, home to more than a million enslaved people.

A self-defined champion of “farmers, mechanics, and laborers,” Jackson railed against the established ruling order, fostering a brand of democracy that struck a chord with the common man and helped catapult him into the presidency—he was the first westerner, first orphan, and thus far the only prisoner of war to occupy the office.

Drawing on a wide range of research material, The First Populist takes a fresh look at Jackson’s public career, including the momentous Battle of New Orleans and the far-reaching Bank War; it reveals his marriage to an already married woman, a deadly duel with a Nashville dandy, and analyzes his magnetic hold on much of the country at the time.

Presenting a full portrait of a controversial American life, The First Populist offers a new way to interpret Jackson’s legacy, connecting “Old Hickory” to a longer history of division, dissent, and partisanship that has come to define our current times.

About the Author

David S. Brown teaches history at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books including The Last American AristocratParadise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography.

Praise For…

“Solidly researched [and] gracefully written. . . . Mr. Brown reminds us that in the Age of Jackson ‘common-man democracy’s erratic energy collaterally legitimized Indian removal, slavery expansion and the troubling growth of presidential fiat.'” —Wall Street Journal

"Compelling. . . . [Brown] succeeds in placing his subject in the context of his fraught times. . . . By assessing the frequent comparisons between Jackson and Donald Trump, Brown is positioning his reexamination of Jackson as a particularly timely one. The hope is that a fresh understanding of the divisive times of 'the country’s original anti-establishment president' might shed light on our own." —Christian Science Monitor


"In this comprehensive and evenhanded biography, historian Brown (The Last American Aristocrat) makes a convincing case that Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) was the most consequential American leader between Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. . . . Thoroughly researched and fluidly written, this accessible presidential biography will appeal to admirers of Ron Chernow and Doris Kearns Goodwin." Publishers Weekly

"Brown’s approach offers an often revealing view of how Jackson, drawing on reserves of charisma and ferocity, leveraged his identity as a political outsider to claim widespread popular support. . . . An instructive exploration of a controversial and enduringly relevant president." Kirkus Reviews

"Brown profiles the rise and career of the seventh U.S. President, scrutinizing in particular Jackson’s reputation as a populist. . . . Brown juggles the personal and political controversies surrounding Jackson to reveal, as much as possible, what drove the man." Booklist

“In this brisk and vividly written biography of Andrew Jackson, David S. Brown gives us a fresh, compelling portrait of Old Hickory.” David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, authors of Henry Clay: The Essential American and The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics 

“In a narrative influenced by recent US politics, David S. Brown’s The First Populist revisits the contentious question of whether Andrew Jackson was a democratic populist or a charismatic strongman. Then, as now, Brown finds that the line between the two is not always clearly drawn.” Mark Cheathem, author of Andrew Jackson: Southerner 

“David Brown’s new book on Jackson is a fine piece of work, both engaging and informative.” —Donald Hickey, author of Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans 
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982191092
ISBN-10: 1982191090
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Pages: 432
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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