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Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest Hardcover – July 1, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0945707080 ISBN-10: 0945707088

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 347 pages
  • Publisher: American Political Biography Press (July 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945707088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945707080
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Bauer assesses Zachary Taylor as ``a man of limited emotional and intellectual capacity'' behind ``a nearly impenetrable mask.'' The mask is lifted only slightly in this new biography. Although Bauer purports to show ``part of Taylor's life that shaped his later actions,'' this account adds little to what we already know from Holman Hamilton's two-volume Zachary Taylor (1941-51), and Hamilton is far better on the White House years. But so little Taylor correspondence has survived that he must remain an enigma to any biographer. Bauer confirms that he was a competent small-unit army commander, a wrong-headed, stubborn president, and a poor politician. For scholars who need a one-volume life. Thomas E. Schott, Office of History, Engineering Installation Div., Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I don't believe a man like him would have been elected today.
Rafael R. Costas Jr.
Admittedly there are severe source deficiencies when dealing with this subject but a much wider study could have been undertaken.
Lehigh History Student
The writing, although a bit uninspired, is easy to read and well presented.
G. Zilly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E. Carr on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read a number of presidential biographies and this was one of the best organized and best written. The author breaks down Taylor's life into substantive themes. Now, I am NOT saying the Taylor is the most interesting president to study. I am saying, however, that this is one of the best books that you will find regarding biographies of presidents.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By L. Bruno on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Zachary Taylor was one of the most unlikely men to ever serve as president of the United States. Self-educated, an average and conservative military leader and definitely not an intellectual, he was thrust into the limelight because of his success in the Mexican War. Although a southerner, Taylor opposed the extension of slavery and threatened dire consequences to secessionists. He died unexpectedly after serving only sixteen months as president. His death occurred just as he was reorganizing his administration and attempting a recasting of the Whig party. Mr. Bauer does a good job of describing the effect Zachary Taylor had on the nation as well as who he was as an individual.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lehigh History Student VINE VOICE on March 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a terrible attempt at scholarship. The book is poorly written and gives an overview with no specifics except for military encounters. This author should have focused his efforts on a military account of Taylor's life because after reading I feel I know nothing about the man. Admittedly there are severe source deficiencies when dealing with this subject but a much wider study could have been undertaken. Sadly there is not much written on Taylor and this does a poor job of adding to the scholarship.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Carr on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was a good read in that it described Zack Taylor's military carreer and political excursion thoroughly. The book does a good job of keeping interest in a less than interesting character. Taylor seems to be somewhat of a whiner throughout his military career, but he was a good soldier. The author's description of his campaigns in Mexico cause the reader to wonder why Taylor was hailed as a hero of the war, but since he was in charge, he got the credit. His political success wasn't any more impressive and we were fortunate to have such an able bodied politician/statesman in Fillmore to take over upon Taylor's death. I recommend this book to anyone interested in 19th century politics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Shick Jr. on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a tough one to get through, not through any fault of the Author but due to the dryness of the material. I am currently in the process of reading a book on every US President and this book seemed to be the best one out there on Zachary Taylor.

I would recommend if you are trying to find out more about the subject, but if you are looking for a great historical page turner, you need to look elsewhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Zilly on September 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am currently reading a biography of every President in order and Bauer's book seemed like the obvious choice for Zachary Taylor.

This book is a bit difficult to rate fairly as I doubt any full biography of Zachary Taylor could be made into a great read. Indeed, Bauer's biography is excellently researched and organized. The writing, although a bit uninspired, is easy to read and well presented. At times, however, this book is very dull and in my opinion Bauer tends to error on the side of going into too much detail. Taylor's military career had few standout moments and most of the first part of the book focuses more on Taylor's transfer from fort to fort along the western frontier.

If there is a President for which a short biography would suffice Taylor is it, and while at slightly over 300 pages of text Bauer's tome is by no means exceedingly long, at the end of the book I felt that it could certainly have been cut down by about 100 pages while still providing a comprehensive biography. Undoubtedly, however, this is the best one volume biography of Taylor available (why anyone would need to read Holman Hamilton's two volume work is beyond me) and certainly more than adequate for its task.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rule 62 Ken on September 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes biographers get too close to their subjects and the resulting product is a fawning case of hero worship. Jack Bauer gets very close to his subject in this book, with an opposite result. Bauer has little good to say about Zachary Taylor, who he portrays as petulant, petty, poorly-read and as someone whose successes are attributable more to an abundance of good fortune than good management. Of Taylor's successes in the Mexican War where the general won each of the four battles he commanded in (often against vastly superior numbers), Bauer attributes victory either to mistakes by the other side, factors that developed in spite of a poorly thought out battle plan, or by simply letting his soldiers do perform as separate units, without any management. Bauer provides the reader with very detailed battle descriptions. His research is impeccable and his attention to every detail in the history of Zachary Taylor the soldier is superb. Yet it is difficult to reach the same conclusion as Bauer about credit that Taylor is deserving of. For example, Bauer criticizes Taylor when a battle is won by the infantry rather than the artillery as Taylor had planned, but he makes this criticism after acknowledging that most battles don't play out they way the generals plan them. The reality of the results make it difficult to accept Bauer's criticism that Taylor's forces won battles against the odds in spite of the general, rather than because of him. Bauer also fails to explain why Taylor was so highly regarded by his soldiers and by the folks on the home front and why Democratic politicians feared him if he was such a bumbler and a dunce.

Bauer's criticisms of Taylor the politician are even more suspect.
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