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Jackson: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Max Byrd
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In this sweeping, marvelously written novel, Max Byrd, the celebrated author of Jefferson and Grant, presents a superb portrait of Andrew Jackson, a President remembered for his strong will and tempestuous nature—and regarded as “the most dangerous man in America” by none other than Thomas Jefferson.
He became a legend during the War of 1812. He was a slave owner, land speculator, and Indian fighter. He stole another man’s wife, murdered men in duels, and ordered military executions. But Andrew Jackson was also an impassioned supporter of universal suffrage and an ardent believer in the will of the people. Here the story of our controversial seventh President is told from a variety of viewpoints, including that of a young writer named David Chase who discovers, on the eve of the presidential election, a secret that could change the future of the nation. Along the way, readers encounter such notable figures as John Quincy Adams, Aaron Burr, and Sam Houston, and bear witness to an America in transition—and a man as unpredictable as democracy itself.
“Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
“With Jackson, [Max] Byrd has vaulted . . . into the front rank of American historical novelists.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Vivid and compelling . . . a convincing and intriguing portrait of Jackson as he might have been.”—The Plain Dealer
“Full of action, emotion, and insight, Max Byrd’s Jackson deserves to stand with the finest works of historical fiction.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Grounded in excellent, detailed historical research, Byrd paints a rich, multilayered portrait.”—Chicago Tribune

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Adultery, murder, conspiracy and land fraud are the scandals laid at the feet of Andrew Jackson in 1828 as he runs for president against John Quincy Adams. Byrd's second historical novel (after Jefferson) presents the adult life of Old Hickory as seen through the astute eyes of a young and hungry writer, David Chase, who is commissioned by an anti-Jackson partisan to write a book that will expose the candidate's stained personal, professional and political life. Eventually, a clear picture emerges of the man who would become the seventh president: coarse, hot-tempered, politically radical, a brawler, a war hero, a devoted husband and a very sharp politician. Slogging through the muck of political skullduggery and the barnyard intrigues of early Washington, D.C., Chase learns the truth of Jackson's rumored adultery, his famous and bloody duels and his involvement with Aaron Burr's wild plot to establish an empire. Finally, Chase falls under the spell of this charismatic man, and so is faced with any journalist's greatest dilemma. Young America comes alive here through a cast of famous players including Jackson, his confidant John Coffee, Burr, Henry Clay, Sam Houston, John C. Calhoun and others. Deftly balancing fact and fiction, Byrd invests his tale with color, emotion and grand historical drama.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This work is a well-written biography within a fairly well-written novel. The novel segment opens in 1828 as Andrew Jackson is making his second run for the presidency. David Chase has been commissioned by a William Short to write a "true" biography of Old Hickory. Many biographies have been written of Andy Jackson, and all are flattering. This is not what the John Q. Adams people want, however. Chase is supposed to tell about all the men Jackson has murdered in duels and how he stole his wife, Rachel, away from her husband and lived in sin with her for two and a half years. Chase was to report on Jackson's rages, how others ridiculed his bad grammar and spelling, and how his minions rewrite all his speeches, letters, and memos. But as Chase researches and writes about Jackson, a flawed hero emerges. It comes down to whether the aristocracy of New England and Virginia will continue to rule the new country or yield to a man of the common folk. This book is for everyone, whether student of history or not, for its wonderful insights into the people and times of our infant republic.?Dawn Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2231 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00E6QBXMI
  • Publisher: Bantam (February 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,676 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Byrd's careful research produces stunning novels September 1, 2000
There are two stories running side-by-side, like horses in harness, in "Jackson," the fascinating novel about Old Hickory's 1828 campaign for the presidency by "Jefferson" novelist Max Byrd.
The story that will draw readers into the book concerns David Chase, a young writer hired by an enemy of Andrew Jackson to research and write a scurrilous biography of him that will derail his presidential bid. Fortunately for Chase, there is plenty of scandal to be found. Jackson lived a life on the frontier, where duels were as common as breathing, and where those with a lick of sense and an ounce of ambition -- and Jackson had more than enough of both -- were not above using any means to get ahead.
But it's Rachel, Jackson wife of 38 years, who had the potential of providing the juiciest bits of gossip. Although we first meet her as a pious, elderly woman, content to smoke her corncob pipe on the veranda of their home, the Hermitage, she was considered a vivacious beauty in her youth, when Andrew eloped with her to escape an abusive marriage. They were married, and lived together for two years before discovering that her first husband neglected to file divorce papers. Bigamy, no matter how accidental nor how long ago, was still a powerful charge in 1828.
Worse, rumors are about that Rachel that she was involved with another man while still married to her first husband. If Chase can find proof, he could set alight the charge that would dynamite Jackson's campaign.

The second, more subtle, story has to do with America of the 1820s, making its way from being a stepchild of Great Britain to something reflecting its native character, an uneasy mix of sectional rivalries and class distinctions that can still be seen today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Max Byrd's "Jackson" is 1997's finest historical novel. December 28, 1998
Forget Gore Vidal, Max Byrd's "Jackson" surpasses any of Vidal's historical novels. In fact, Byrd may be the finest author of historical novels now working in the United States.
"Jackson" is beautifully crafted, with a plot that siezes readers and fascinates them until the book is finished. Andrew Jackson is a man who has always deserved to be better known by us all. Byrd brings him to life with consumate skill.
More importantly, he inserts readers into Jackson's time and offers an entire panorama of our burgeoning nation in 1828. Only four of the characters are invented, and the real people who surrounded Jackson speak, act, and react as they did when they were alive.
This is a wonderful book, with characters who are works of art. It should be read by anyone with the slightest taste for history, true drama, or simply the finest writing on today's horizon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postulates the Under Currents Used to Elect Jackson October 30, 2001
As with several of his books, Max Byrd uses the interesting technique of using the writing of fictional characters to tell true stories of heroes of the past. This book is set in 1827-1828 as Andrew Jackson is running for President against John Quincy Adams. David Chase in this book serves a similar role as Nicolas Trist in the book "Grant" where a writer returns from abroad and is given the job of writing about the central character. In this book Chase's employer is hoping for a hatchet job on Andrew to prevent the "uncultured" forces of the West from gaining access to the White House. Similar to "Grant" there's also a smattering of romance among the fictional characters to keep the story spicey. Byrd is a well-educated man and it is easily reflected in his work. One doesn't have to know Latin but there is more than one example where it would help..."Veni, vidi, vici." What's most enjoyable is how Byrd weaves tid-bits of facts into his historical profiles. I had never thought about how the cast-iron frame had extended the life of pianos because a complete wooden frame would be destroyed by the masters in short order. One of the central themes involves rumors and truths about Jackson's wife, Rachael. Will her early indiscretions be enough to sink Jackson's bid for the White House? Byrd does a nice job of addressing this with known facts, interspersed with supposition. Finally, there's a great deal in this book about a man whom history has mostly forgotten...General Coffee. Coffee was with Jackson throughout many years of his adult life, serving with him at New Orleans and back into civilian life through Jackson's presidency. If you're interested in those that shaped this Union during the early 1800s you'll enjoy this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story; Poor Research July 10, 1997
By A Customer
While the story and characters seem to develop slowly, toward the end of the book, the story pace and development of the characters picks up significantly. Detracting from the book, however, are inaccuracies sprinkled throughout the novel. For example, the author places American General Nathaniel Greene in command of the Continental Army at the battle of Camden during the Revolutionary War. Nathaniel Greene was not even assigned to the Southern Army when the battle of Camden was fought. General Horatio Gates commanded the Americans at the battle of Camden. Only after Gates was vanquished at Camden was Nathaniel Greene assigned to the Southern Army as Commander. It was Greene that was responsible for the campaign that resulted in the battles of Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse. Another inaccuracy is the distance listed between Knoxville, TN and Nashville, TN. The author states the distance as ninety miles. In reality, it's much closer to one hundred fifty miles between these two cities. Inaccuracies such as these hurt an otherwise good story
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not enough about Jackson
Disappointed with this book. Just not enough written about the life of Jackson. Mostly, just a lot of verbiage about the book writer and Jackson's wife. Read more
Published 4 months ago by tom
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious History retold in the format of a novel
Most entertaining portrayal of pre-election mud slinging between rival candidates and the political parties during the Presidential election of 1828. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sekhar Banerjee
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
A disappointing portrayal of President Jackson. More a story of his aides and friends.
The entire book was a difficult read, slow and tedious.
Published 9 months ago by Chopper
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Mix of Fiction and Fact
I enjoyed this historical fiction because the history, according to my knowledge of Jackson and the times, was accurate and the characters well developed and plausible. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Justakid
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
The story of three minor characters talking about Jackson falls flat. It is a lot of information about the characters and very little about Jackson.
Published 13 months ago by James Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Will read later it is on my list to read. I have read other books on...
I have not had time to read it yet. I know I will enjoy it. I enjoy our American history and books about our presidents.
Published 13 months ago by Pat
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY INTERESTING READ.
An interesting book, well written. Gives the reader a good look into the politics of the period and the life styles of our early leaders.
Published 13 months ago by Pat G.
2.0 out of 5 stars Leaarned little
Was hoping to really learn a great deal about Jackson, it was too much about the author of the book or someone like him. Much preferred a true biography.
Published 13 months ago by walt wagner
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a good life of Jackson
Expecting a novel about rise to power and life of Andrew Jackson, instead I got a series of tale of fictional author writing a Jackson bio. Read more
Published 13 months ago by highwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Jackson
This was very informational and made me feel like I was there with the author. I have been interested in Andrew Jackson ever since the movie The Presidents Lady with Charlton... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Barbara J. Clark
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