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Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest Hardcover

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

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Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest + Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President + President James Buchanan: A Biography
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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: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

An easy read.
Fred Clark
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.
G. Zilly
He was essentially a very average intellect and not very creative either in his politics or his military acumen.
Rafael R. Costas Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 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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8 of 9 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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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rafael R. Costas Jr. on July 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Of all the presidents I have studied so far, Taylor could very well be the least deserving of the presidency. I think Mr. Bauer is a very good writer and historian, but Taylor is neither a very exciting subject or a very well-documented one (apparently many of his private papers were lost during a sacking of his plantation home during the Civil War).
He was essentially a very average intellect and not very creative either in his politics or his military acumen. Compared to other generals who have risen to the presidency (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower, Grant), his military capabilities were very dim. His successes in the Mexican War, I think, were due more to capable, think-on-your-feet lieutenants than strategy-making onhis part.
This book confirmed the impression of Taylor that I had formed from reading other works about the era: that he was petty, defensive, couldn't control his temper a lot of the time and was politically naive (not necessarily a bad thing...).
I don't believe a man like him would have been elected today. He benefited from remoteness, little interaction with the press and letting other, more powerful politicians essentially run for him.
Like other presidents between 1845-1860, he also had the misfortune of being president during one of our most challenging periods and when the country was probably really run more by Clay, Calhoun and Webster. You couldn't do much in those days without their support and Taylor seems to have been too naive to either (a) recognize that or (b) go along with it. As a result he accomplished very little during his short tenure. I don't think he would have accomplished much more had he lived longer.
The book itself is well-written but not interesting. Again, I think that has to do more with the subject than the author and I wouldn't mind reading something else by Bauer. Still, if you need to read about Taylor, this is probably your best choice.
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