Two Frogs

The Passions of Andrew Jackson


by Andrew Burstein
Date Reviewed: January 03, 2004

I had no idea Jackson was such a jerk. I suppose you could say he was a man of his time, but there were many men of his time who were not slave traders, who did not engage in illegal duels over perceived injuries, who did not commit adultery with another man’s still-undivorced wife, who did not summarily execute men based on suspicion of treason, and just weren’t so damned arrogant. I don’t know why he’s such a famous president, and graces currency, when he seems to have offered so little to the American experience. The book is fairly balanced and well-written, although I was disappointed in the lack of detail offered surrounding the Trail of Tears. I believe it was the most significant period in Jackson’s life, and there’s virtually nothing about it in this book. Instead, far too much attention is paid to whether or not Jackson and Rachel Donelson had a legitimate marriage. I think that’s important, but mostly only to Jackson, Rachel, and her first husband, and is of infinitely less significance than the forced displacement of thousands of Cherokee Indians.

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