cover image Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

H. W. Brands, , read by Chuck Montgomery. . Random House Audio, $39.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-2169-0

Sounding like a schoolteacher whiling away a snowy winter's day in his classroom by sharing a historic tale with his students, Montgomery reads Brands's life of the nation's seventh president with careful attention and understated smoothness. Beginning with Jackson's humble roots and Revolutionary War experience in the Carolinas, and taking him through his time in the White House, Brands's biography follows in the footsteps of other recent blockbuster biographies of the presidents. Montgomery's voice maintains a consistent tenor, only occasionally lapsing into clichéd emoting, as he treks his way through the ridges and valleys of Jackson's career. With a faint twang underscoring his flat, uninflected tone, Montgomery's voice sometimes lacks the necessary aura of scholarly authority that would invest Brands's book with its full share of historical richness. Even so, Montgomery keeps listeners intrigued, never allowing the fidgets to set in and smoothly moving Jackson's life along without fuss or undue theatrics. A little more theatricality, though, might have made the entire endeavor a more rewarding experience for Montgomery's students. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, July 11). (Oct.)