- Hardcover: 470 pages
- Publisher: American Political Biography Press (April 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0945707045
- ISBN-13: 978-0945707042
- Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The book is well-written--one of the better ones, perhaps the best, in this series of American political biographies. It was one of the last written. The author relies on letters to Fillmore as one of the main sources, since his own letters are mostly missing. Generally the author is fair and balanced, although he portrays the struggle between Fillmore and Thurlow Weed rather naively as the battle between Good and Evil. He also brushes over Fillmore's willingness to allow slavery to exist as the price for preserving the Union--an opinion that was common at the start of Fillmore's career but increasingly anathema by the end of it.
The review on the dust jacket, quoted on this item's Amazon page, written by Roy Nichols, is manifestly unfair to the book and to Fillmore. The author is not nearly so naive as Nichols makes him out to be, and Fillmore, while not a great president, was not nearly the mediocrity and indecisive man as Nichols portrays him. Read the book (it's worth it) but not the dust jacket!
I am happy to say that I concur regarding the quality of this book. Rayback has written a comprehensive and interesting biography of Millard Fillmore that is a highly enjoyable read. Rayback get's the detail level just right and succeed's at painting a thorough portrait of Millard Fillmore's life, political career, and the times and issues in which he lived. The writing style is very readable and rarely does the book get dull.
The only criticism I have regarding this book is that it does seem to be slightly biased in favor of Fillmore and makes some assumptions regarding Fillmore's inner feelings and thoughts on certain events for which I am quite sure the author would be hard pressed to find definitive documentation. The book also portrays Fillmore as always being selfless, good intentioned and often a victim of his own magnaminity while his enemies (namely Thurlow Weed and William Seward) were motivated only by the pursuit of political power. My suspicion is the story is not quite as one sided as this but Rayback, in my opinion, does not adequately explain fully the motivations behind Weed's enmity towards Fillmore. My guess is Weed's abolitionism and sectionalism was at odds with Fillmore's more pragmatic opposition to slavery and conviction of the primacy of preserving the Union. With the hindsight of history I believe good points can be argued about both positions however Rayback defaults to Fillmore's point of view.
These criticisms aside, this is still a great biography and highly recommended.
What I think Raback does do successfully, however, is relate the circumstances that caused the disintegration of the Whig Party and ushered in the Republican Party. Additionally, Rayback does explore some interesting aspects of Fillmore's career: his role in the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, the inner-party fighting between Fillmore and Weed, the exploration of a canal through Latin America, shortening travel between Asia and America, and what may be the turning point of separation of Church in State as we know it today. The reader can't help but understand a little more why we are marching towards the Civil War as well.
Rayback's writing style is descriptive and he certainly has a good command of the Enghlish languate. However, I felt each chapter was about 10 pages too long.
Overall, I think this contributes to our exercise of building our knowledge of American history but would not recommend this to the casual reader, as it took quite a bit of focus for me to finish.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is little reason to read anything else on Fillmore. This biography is very in depth. It delves into minute political ramblings from New York while Fillmore lived and worked... Read morePublished 15 hours ago by John Winthrop
Well written and comprehensive. I learned a great deal about one of our little-known presidents.Published 28 days ago by George T. Daughters
Robert Rayback’s biography of Millard Fillmore is a solid look at our 13th president. Rayback shows how Fillmore rose from poverty through hard work and a solid core of integrity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kevin M. Derby
A good read about a man from humble beginnings who accomplished many things.
I knew nothing of this man who became President because he was the Vice President. Read more
If you ever wondered what happened to some of the old political parties of the past buy this book. Told through the life of Fillmore, you'll discover the origins and fate of the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kenny
Very readable biography of a president who is relatively unknown. What made the book so interesting was the realization that the politicians of that era behaved much as the ones we... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kenneth Veit
An excellent biography of a little-known president. Very thorough and very readable, if there is a flaw at all it is that the author seems a bit overly inclined to cheerlead for... Read morePublished 19 months ago by James Yanni