Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (American History)

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9780060826574: Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (American History)

Waking Giant is a brilliant, definitive history of America’s vibrant and tumultuous rise during the Jacksonian era from David S. Reynolds, the Bancroft Prize-winning author of Walt Whitman’s America. Casting fresh light on Andrew Jackson, who redefined the presidency, along with John Quincy Adams and James K. Polk, who expanded the nation’s territory and strengthened its position internationally, Reynolds captures the turbulence of a democracy caught in the throes of the controversy over slavery, the rise of capitalism, and the birth of urbanization.

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From the Publisher:

"A remarkable synthesis, impressive on many levels. . . . Reynolds applies his vast erudition to a period too often treated as mere prelude to the country's most destructive war. . . . A remarkable feat of distillation. . . . Reynolds is most adept handling the period's art and literature--he is remarkably clear-eyed about the Transcendentalists--and he brilliantly explores the religious scene's variety, tumult and frequent humbuggery. More than anything, he conveys the era's sheer weirdness."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Bancroft Prize winner Reynolds has produced a thorough chronicle of America from 1815 to 1848. . . . His book will appeal to general history buffs and American studies students. Highly recommended."
-- Library Journal

"In this fluid narrative, Reynolds recounts how politics, religion, art, literature, and economics jostled in forming a distinctively national American culture. . . . Exemplified by the intensification of feelings over slavery, the tensions in American society become vibrantly manifest in the eminent hands of Reynolds."
-- Booklist

"Offers a fine addition to the literature on pre-Civil War American history in this account of the years 1815-1848. . . Even knowledgable readers will relish the chapters on social history. . . . Reynolds delivers a straightforward, insightful history of America during its bumptious adolescence."
-- Publishers Weekly

"A really good volume of history provides the reader with a keen sense of perspective and a genuine appreciation of the past. This is exactly what David S. Reynolds does in Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, which authoritatively describes the early to middle part of the American 19th Century and makes clear how important this period was to the nation's growth in sociocultural, industrial and political terms....The marvel here is how Reynolds tackles textbook material with a great deal of stylish and involving writing."
-- BookPage

From the Back Cover:

America experienced unprecedented growth and turmoil in the years between 1815 and 1848. It was an age when Andrew Jackson redefined the presidency and James K. Polk expanded the nation's territory. Bancroft Prize–winning historian and literary critic David S. Reynolds captures the turbulence of a democracy caught in the throes of the controversy over slavery, the rise of capitalism, and the birth of urbanization. He brings to life the reformers, abolitionists, and temperance advocates who struggled to correct America's worst social ills, and he reveals the shocking phenomena that marked the age: violent mobs, P. T. Barnum's freaks, all-seeing mesmerists, polygamous prophets, and rabble-rousing feminists. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Waking Giant is a brilliant chronicle of America's vibrant and tumultuous rise.

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