ANDREW JACKSON, HERO by Donald Barr Chidsey


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Chidsey's passion is clearly etymology rather than political history. He's happiest when recalling the editorial rhetoric and campaign slanders of ""the millenium of minnows"" or when he catches the scent of a peculiar coinage: Do you want to know how the phrase ""a good enough Morgan"" figured in anti-Masonic doings or why the charge that John Quincy Adams was both a Unitarian and a pimp can be deemed a ""roorbach""? Chidsey gives you the answers, plus at least eight derivations for the word ""O.K."" Otherwise his mannered gossip and crotchety interpretations shed little light on Jackson the Hero. He clearly relishes the Peggy Eaton affair, but not content with defending his belief that Jackson was, personally ""not a racist, but a realist""--a position serious historians such as Remini (p. 335, J-115) would support--he fulminates against cocktail party ""wunderkinders"" who call the policy of Indian Removal racist and ends, ludicrously, by evoking Jackson as the image of the Great White Father. To borrow an adjective from Chidsey, it's borborygmous (or, as we common folk would say, gassy).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Nelson