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Review Of Andrew Burstein, The Passions Of Andrew Jackson (New York: Random House, 2003), 320 Pages

1650 words - 7 pages

The Passions of Andrew Jackson, written by Andrew Burstein, is the story of the life of President and General Andrew Jackson. Burstein tries to portray Jackson's life without prejudice. In the book's preface, Burstein says that Jackson's other biographers, namely Robert Remini tend to try to make a hero out of Jackson and to not look at all aspects of his career.From this book, the reader gets the image of Andrew Jackson as a man who was intensely moral -especially in his own mind-, quick to jump in defense of a woman or man that he perceived accused wrongly of something, and a loving husband. Andrew Burstein portrays Jackson as a man who was self-made, a man who came from nothing and worked his way up to the presidency of the United States of America. He was also an American war hero who never backed down from a fight. These are the good aspects of Andrew Jackson, but there were plenty of bad aspects also. Jackson was a man who embodied the American dream.Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767, in South Carolina. He was the third son of Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson. His father died either shortly before or after his birth. Andrew went to school in a log cabin. Many of his classmates remembered him as someone who was more fond of physical activity than education.Andrew's life changed drastically when the American Revolution broke out. In the summer of 1779, Hugh, Andrew's oldest brother, died after the Battle of Stono Ferry. In 1871, Andrew and Robert Jackson were captured by British troops. A British officer told fourteen-year-old Andrew to clean his boots, when Andrew would not the officer hit him with his sword. Andrew held up his arm to deflect the blow and this gesture possibly saved his life. His sixteen-year-old brother, Robert, was not so fortunate. He was also told to clean the same officers boots and when he also refused he was struck on the head with the sword. Then the brothers were sent forty miles to another town to be held as prisoners. They were treated very badly there and Robert's condition weakened considerably. Their mother arranged for them to be exchanged in a prisoner exchange, but by that time it was too late for Robert. He died just a few days after his release.Elizabeth Jackson died a just few short months later from fever, leaving Andrew an orphan.After the war, Andrew Jackson moved to Nashville and he stayed, as a boarder, at the Donnelson household. While there he met Rachel Donnelson Robards, the family's daughter. Rachel was married to a man that was abusive both physically and verbally. They had an on again off again relationship. Eventually they were divorced and she married Andrew Jackson. A few years later, however, the couple was astonished to find out that the Robards' marriage had not been dissolved and that Rachel Jackson was married to two men. Eventually the marriage was legally dissolved and Rachel and Andrew were married again. That was the story that has been accepted by most historians over the...

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