The years between Madison’s presidency and the outbreak of the Civil War are dark country for me. I know bits and pieces of information but lack the general context to feel confident about what any of the bits mean. So when I found this book, I picked it up thinking that I’d fill in some blanks.
So what did I learn? A lot. This is an interesting time in U.S. history and one that felt very similar to the present moment. Changes were happing quickly, but Daniel Walker Howe writes about them clearly, weaving the political, economic and social strands into one coherent story. It’s an impressive feat, and one I’ve probably shortchanged by reading so slowly across so long a time. I took notes, but wow, there’s a lot going on.
My take away, globally, is that Andrew Jackson was a dick.