Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson

by David S. Reynolds

Hardcover, 2008




Harper, (2008)


A chronicle of political events between 1815 and 1848 evaluates their role in shaping American culture, covering such topics as the slavery controversy, the rise of capitalism, and the birth of urbanization.

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LibraryThing member susanamper
Reynolds examines the chaotic constantly changing years between 1815 to 1848. It’s a bunch of stories wrapped up in one. It’s a fun political story of Andrew Jackson, the first everyman’s president. It seems he was the first president to actually campaign for the job, and the populace loved him. Reynold’s also writes about the cultural, social, intellectual and artistic currents running through the nation. Many different things were happening all at once. President James Monroe observed that a growing network of canals and turnpikes and the development of the steamboat were helping stitch a country together, even as other Americans, saw the division of the Union unless it were bound together by something like the Erie Canal. Countless utopian movements popped up across the country, along with movements to help the poor, heal the sick and assist the deaf, even as Native Americans were forcibly marched to their deaths along the Trail of Tears and plans were being made to ship free blacks off to Africa, or elsewhere. It’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s a fun read.… (more)
LibraryThing member Schmerguls
This book, published in 2008, is a sheer joy to read for anyone as attracted to antebellum US history as I am. It has chapters which tell in nicely chronological manner the political history of the years from 1815 to 1848. Then there is an excellent chapter discussing the religious events of the time including an incisive account of some of the strange religious happenings, including the rise of Mormonism, one of the few religious beginnings of the time which is still with us today. I found less absorbing the discussion of Emerson, but he has never excited my interest. The discussions of Cooper, Irving, Poe, and Hawthorne are however full of interest and even the thorough examination of Americah painting during the time is good reading. As is the account of the still unenlightened state of medicine. All in all, this book is a refreshing and literate view of the years involved. I thouroughly enjoyed it.… (more)
LibraryThing member nmele
A look at the United States between 1820, roughly, and 1848, this book convinced me of the continuity of many aspects of American society, from negative campaign tactics to experimentation with cults and alternatives to the standard family. There are startling facts here and there, but the book examines the stew that was America during the Jacksonian era, everything from the painting of Washington Allston to the origins of phrases like "manifest destiny" and even "O.K."… (more)


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