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The Age of Jackson (Back Bay Books (Series)) Paperback – November 28, 1988


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Editorial Reviews

Review

A landmark in American historical writing. -- Marquis James

An original, brilliant and monumentally massive historical work...It is a major achievement -- The New York Times

Performed not merely adequately but brilliantly . . . a remarkable piece of analytical history. -- Allan Nevins --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr. is a distinguished Professor of History and the author of 16 books. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, first for The Age of Jackson, then 20 years later for A Thousand Days, his portrait of the Kennedy administration, which also won the National Book Award. He served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the Second World War and as special assistant to the president in the Kennedy White House. In 1967, Schlesinger was appointed Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate School. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Back Bay Books (Series)
  • Paperback: 577 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reissue edition (November 28, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316773433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316773430
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Sam A. Mawn-Mahlau on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a classic of American History, and is very much a chapter in Schlesinger's broader project of discovering the roots of (then-) modern liberalism through history. This is a book that is best described as a history of ideas, and particularly of the idea of democracy as it expanded in the 1830s and 1840s, embracing universal suffrage and economic as well as political egalitarianism. The book very much reflects the time in which it was written and the debates which it was part of, and, like much history of the period, seeks to refocus discussion of American history away from themes of frontier and nationalialism.

There are several things this book is not:

This book is not a comprehensive history of the period;
it is not even a social or economic history of the period;
it is not a biography of Jackson (indeed, Martin Van Buren may well receive more ink than Jackson in this book); and
it is not an attempt to write a definitive work; rather, it is a voice in a rather lively debate.

Schlesigner's voice in the book is clear and open. His own biases and prejudices are on the surface, not hidden and not given any claims of a "disinterested" scientific approach. Yet his research and his mustering of support are thorough and meticulous, and he is just as clear in discussing the shortcomings of his analysis (such as in the closing chapters) as in describing the shortcoming of other's analyses.

His fundamental argument is that the Jacksonian intellectual tradition was the first American intellectual tradition to clearly recognize a need for economic as well as political egalitarianism, and the first to make good on the fundamental concept that "All men (still men in the Jacksonian age) are created equal.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David M. Koss on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
When, as a young man, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. published "The Age of Jackson" he gave us an insightful volume about the founder of the modern Democratic party, and of the critical generation of U.S. History that followed the presidencies of Madison and Monroe, and preceded the woefully incompetent administrations that helped to precipitate the Civil War. From the vantage point of the year 2000, it is easy to criticize the author for failing to take Jackson to task for his vile policy toward native Americans. It is also much harder for intelligent Americans of today to understand the merits of Jackson's opposition to the Bank of the United States. But his opposition to the Bank of the United States was derived from a populist streak that makes liberals cheer, and his position on other major issues justifies the honors bestowed on him by today's Democrats (just as Republicans have "Lincoln Day" dinners to annually honor their party's best President, Democrats have "Jefferson-Jackson Day" dinners to honor their party's two founders).
"The Age of Jackson" is probably the second place that all college history students should turn to, as they study pre-Civil War America, second only to getting the raw outline of events from their required textbook. Of course, the Schlesinger book is no longer the final place for the student's research; more recent, albeit less well-written works must be studied as well. Still, historians would be hard-pressed to ignore this classic.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have to disagree with the previous reviewer. THE AGE OF JACKSON was inspired by the author's support of FDR's New Deal, not World War II. Jackson's Democrats are FDR's Democrats, and the anti-Jackson Whigs are the anti-FDR Republicans. Therefore, any theme that did not support Jackson's image as a democrat and enemy of the wealthy was ignored, such as Old Hickory's genocidal policy against Native Americans. However, within his limitations, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. is a brilliant historian, and THE AGE OF JACKSON was well deserving of its Pulitzer Prize.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Rozsa on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Many conservatives love Andrew Jackson and hate Franklin Roosevelt; many liberals love Franklin Roosevelt and hate Andrew Jackson; rare it is will you find a historical scholar with the cojones to point out a truth that most are loathe to admit - that the two men, though separated by a century, represented manifestations of the same basic ideology, and as such should be admired by anyone who adheres to progressive political values.

Arthur Schlesinger - a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (for this and one other book) and a high-ranking employee for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai E. Stevenson, and John F. Kennedy - is supremely well-qualified to render a verdict as to Jackson's legacy. This he does, and in spades, in a book that brilliantly captures the spirit of the Jacksonian Era even while digging deep into the political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and intellectual life of the time. This book is in part a chronicle of the movers and shakers of the Jacksonian movement(Martin Van Buren, John Calhoun, Jackson himself, and countless others), but it is primarily an all-encompassing chronicle of a political movement that has been more or less forgotten today. Anyone who doesn't recommend this book either doesn't know much about American history, or has an ideological agenda that they wish to foist upon you which is impeded by the facts presented in this volume. Ignore their imprecations and read it anyway.
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