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Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857 Hardcover – March 30, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Pierce's life and career seemed to have been beset by tragedy and ill fortune. Little known outside New England, Pierce, nonetheless, became the famous dark horse candidate in 1852, much like James K. Polk had been eight years earlier. Holt is particularly good at describing the politics of Pierce's ascendancy to the presidency (one of Pierce's few strokes of "luck") and he's equally good at setting up the president's downfall. Since there is little of an actual written nature of the Pierce years in the White House (he never wrote an autobiography) much has to be sewn together by others' accounts.
The author spends a fair amount of time on the Kansas-Nebraska Act... the downhill turning point of the Pierce presidency... but offers as much that while Pierce made major mistakes during his time in office it seems unlikely that any person who ran the country in the 1850s could have done much to calm the seething factions before the outbreak of the Civil War. I enjoyed Holt's offering up Pierce's feelings about future presidents. It seems he despised his successor, James Buchanan, and hadn't much use for Abraham Lincoln. Pierce was content when Andrew Johnson was acquitted during the latter's impeachment trial of 1868.
President Pierce's unhappy and unsuccessful administration might only have been matched by the unhappiness of his personal life....three children dying very young, a sickly wife and his own heavy drinking.Read more ›
While I've read a fair amount about the antebellum period in general, I didn't know much about Franklin Pierce, other than that he signed into law the Kansas-Nebraska Act and that he's widely considered to be one of the worst presidents we've ever had. But I was interested to find out that along with his negative qualities -- a destructive loyalty to the Democratic Party being the most significant, according to Holt -- he was also a superb public speaker, a loyal and extremely well-liked individual, and a prominent and influential Democrat in one of the rare northern states that consistently voted Democrat.
This book provides a broad overview of Pierce's early life and career, three strong chapters on his presidency, and a wrap-up chapter on his retirement, which, to my surprise, included several attempts by some Democrats to convince him to run for president again, even though he was very unpopular at the close of his term and wasn't even renominated by his party. When I was done reading, I retained my disapproval of Pierce's endorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and his unwillingness to take a stand against slavery or the South's determination to compile slave states. However, I felt that Pierce was a likable person; he made some costly miscalculations, but he was inherently a decent and honest man.Read more ›
It was a good book. A little short, and a good read for those wanting to learn more about the American Presidents.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
easy to read, not the most interesting of presidents, but important to understand the times in the lead up to Lincoln.Published 4 days ago by Jeffrey Roberts
Enjoyed reading this short biography on Franklin Pierce. It provided insight to a president that I knew little about but helped to fill in the gap on the politics of the time as... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dar
One of the most interesting of the one term Presidents. A must read.Published 3 months ago by Richard Folsom
Very good book to for an understanding of the highlights of this President's life and administration.Published 4 months ago by Karen
It’s tempting to say Franklin Pierce was the second coming of John Tyler (Tyler II) but that would be unfair to John Tyler. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ricardo Mio
Informative and to the point. There were a number of syntax errors and misspellings. Not bad despite poor editing. Brings clarity to the lead up to the civil war.Published 6 months ago by Edward W. Markum
Good but more of a political science book than history. Focuses on the political divisions that supported care rain narional'issues.Published 9 months ago by loren
The president gets one star at most. He was so bad I had to remind myself not to punish the messenger, the author, for the message, of how FP's fawning obeisance to the Southern... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Grushinka