on February 20, 2013
Harry Sievers' biography of our twenty-third president usually receives less than glowing reviews. This is because Sievers spends a great deal of the narrative of the three-volume biography tracing the personal life of Benjamin Harrison--the twenty-third president of the United States. Readers of presidential biographies, however, tend to favor political biographies over personal histories of the presidents. Thus, typical readers of the Sievers' three-volume work are usually left a little flat by this biography. Still, the Sievers biography remains the only substantial biography of our twenty-third president.
Between the three volumes of this set, this second volume should come the closest to appealing to the readers seeking the political life of Benjamin Harrison. There are six full chapters-- the last six chapters of Volume 2--dedicated to Harrison's successful campaign against Grover Cleveland in 1888. Actually, there is a seventh chapter that should also be included in this group of political chapters dealing with the 1888 campaign. This is the chapter called "The Assault on Grover Cleveland" which covers the two years prior to the 1888 campaign which Harrison spent in the United States Senate representing the State of Indiana. As the title of the chapter indicates, much of Harrison's work during this time from 1886 through 1887 was engaged in criticism of the sitting president in preparation for the campaign in 1888. Accordingly, over 1/3 of the whole volume deals with the political events of the 1888 campaign.
on September 15, 2011
Benjamin Harrison was a very interesting man and Sievers provided plenty of details about much of his life, but the book abruptly ends just after Harrison is elected president. This means the half-biography of this president leaves out ALL of his presidency, not to mention the rest of his life. To call this a biography is false advertising and yes, I want my money back.