Cover image for Jackson's way : Andrew Jackson and the people of the western waters
Jackson's way : Andrew Jackson and the people of the western waters
Buchanan, John, 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J. Wiley, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiii, 434 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E382 .B89 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Praise for Jackson's Way

""A compelling account of Jackson's Indian-fighting days . . . as well a grand sweep of the conquest of the trans-Appalachian West, a more complex, bloody, and intrigue-filled episode than is generally appreciated. . . . Mr. Buchanan writes with style and insight. . . . This is history at its best.""
-The Wall Street Journal

""An excellent study . . . of an area and a time period too long neglected by historians . . . provides valuable new information, particularly on the Indians.""
-Robert Remini, author of Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars

""John Buchanan has written a book that explodes with action and drama on virtually every page. Yet the complex story of the birth of the American West never loses its focus-Andrew Jackson's improbable rise to fame and power. This is an American saga, brilliantly told by a master of historical narrative.""
-Thomas Fleming, author of Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America

From John Buchanan, the highly acclaimed author of The Road to Guilford Courthouse, comes a compulsively readable account that begins in 1780 amidst the maelstrom of revolution and continues throughout the three tumultuous decades that would decide the future course of this nation. Jackson's Way artfully reconstructs the era and the region that made Andrew Jackson's reputation as ""Old Hickory,"" a man who was so beloved that men voted for him fifteen years after his death. Buchanan resurrects the remarkable man behind the legend, bringing to life the thrilling details of frontier warfare and of Jackson's exploits as an Indian fighter-and reassessing the vilification that has since been heaped on him because of his Indian policy. Culminating with Jackson's defeat of the British at New Orleans-the stunning victory that made him a national hero-this gripping narrative shows us how a people's obsession with land and opportunity and their charismatic leader's quest for an empire produced what would become the United States of America that we know today.

Author Notes

John Buchanan, was formerly an archivist at Cornell University and Chief Registrar of The Metropolitan Museum of Art where he was in charge of worldwide art movements

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Not strictly a biography of Jackson, this work rather personifies in Jackson the southern version of the saga of settler expansion and frontier warfare that culminated in the massacre-soaked Creek War of 1813^-1814. Buchanan prefaces Jackson's role with a chronicle of the flow into what is now Tennessee and Kentucky of land-hungry whites prior to the Revolution. The young Jackson sluiced over the mountains in 1787, his angry personality already formed from a penurious childhood and a hatred for the British. Buchanan, better at exposition than style, conveys Jackson's fortunes in the rough-and-tumble of raw Tennessee society, where perceived slights would dissolve into duels and ganglike violence: Jackson himself was shot in one duel and again in a street brawl. Jackson's personal story and the victory of the settlers merged in Jackson's ruthless campaign to crush the Creeks forever, followed by his victory over the British at New Orleans in 1815. The thickness of detail may not be to every reader's taste, but overall Buchanan is a capable chronicler of events. Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

With tremendous admiration, even reverence, for his subject, Buchanan (The Road to Guilford Courthouse) recounts Andrew Jackson's early career and rise to American war hero. He focuses on the westward expansion from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, which he describes as a "folk movement" or mass migration of rough, often lawless people determined to lay claim to a new land and to fight until they prevailed. With graphic first-person accounts of Indian massacres and the retaliatory strikes of settlers, the author provides a very detailed military history of Jackson's defeat of the Chicamunga Cherokees and the Creek tribes who claimed sovereignty, until 1814, over the southeastern United States, and of his victory at the battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Buchanan uses quotations from primary sources so well that they blend almost seamlessly with his own writing, which can sound oddly archaic and overwrought to modern ears (soldiers are "released by death"; British ships bound "eaglelike over the waves"). In Buchanan's eyes, Jackson is nothing short of "superhuman," and there is little balance in his treatment of Jackson's controversial views on Indians (the future president eschewed the idea of Indian sovereignty, although Buchanan argues that it was the English, and not the Indians, whom Jackson hated) or his invasion of Florida, a possession of neutral Spain, at the close of the Creek Indian war. Buchanan is unabashedly nostalgic for the days when battlefields were "fields of honor" and the ungoverned individualism and hunger for expansion of the frontier was at the forefront of the American experience. This account will appeal mainly to those who enjoy military history. Illus. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Buchanan emphasizes Andrew Jackson's pivotal role in the long and successful struggle of Americans to dominate the Old Southwest, a region stretching from the Appalachians to the Mississippi and from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico. Several tribes bitterly resisted the American invasion. But "Like Arabs and Vikings and Mongols and Aztecs before them, frontier Americans were conquerors, and they had the conqueror's self-confidence that their cause was just." Seeking land and opportunity, the invaders suffered and killed in their determination to achieve their goals. An ambitious and courageous leader, Jackson played a varied and critical role in the Old Southwest. In Tennessee he acquired land and won various political offices. Buchanan analyzes Jackson's relationship with his wife, with Aaron Burr, and politicians. Many of his contemporaries recognized "that Jackson was not an ordinary man, that within him was a capacity to perform extraordinary deeds." Because of Jackson's resounding defeat of the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend, Buchanan calls Jackson "the greatest Indian-fighter of all." Buchanan relates the Indian's viewpoint but is more sympathetic with the invaders than most contemporary historians. This lively, analytical history, which explains why Jackson came to political power, deserves a wide readership. G. T. Edwards emeritus, Whitman College

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps
Vanguard of Empire
The Frontier
The Cumberland Salient
Under Siege
"I Am a Native of This Nation and of Rank in It"
The Rise of Andrew Jackson
Buchanan's Station and Nickajack
"When You Have Read This Letter over Three Times, Then Burn It".
Major General Andrew Jackson
Conspiracy and Blood
Old Hickory
"Time Is Not to Be Lost"
They "Whipped Captain Jackson, and Run Him to the Coosa River"