Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab

Steve Inskeep. Penguin Press, $29.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-59420-556-9
So large has Andrew Jackson loomed in American history that an entire era is named for him, but NPR Morning Edition cohost Inskeep (Instant City) tames this outsized personality and brings fresh insight to the events leading to the Trail of Tears. Inskeep sets Jackson alongside the Cherokee leader John Ross in a nuanced dual biography that tells a compelling story of how democracy in the early-19th-century United States developed at the expense of Native American rights and land. The narrative alternates between the lives of Jackson and Ross, leading up to their final confrontation over Cherokee land in the state of Georgia, and Inskeep takes into consideration their “two different and mutually exclusive maps” of the territory. Ross believed he could secure a place for his people within the growing U.S. by emphasizing what Cherokees and whites had in common. But once gold was discovered in Georgia around 1829, this became a moot point, and Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act with a chilling ease. Dejected Cherokees abandoned Chief Ross, concluding that life across the Mississippi might be the best they could hope for. Inskeep provides a stark reminder of all that was lost. Illus. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/23/2015
Release date: 05/19/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-14-310831-3
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-1-61176-434-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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