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The genial but troubled New Englander whose single-minded partisan loyalties inflamed the nation's simmering battle over slavery. Charming and handsome, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was drafted to break the deadlock of the Democratic convention. Though he seized the White House in a landslide against the imploding Whig Party, he proved a dismal failure in office.

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Holt, a leading historian of nineteenth-century partisan politics, argues that in the wake of the Whig collapse, Pierce was consumed by an obsessive drive to unify his splintering party rather than the roiling country. He soon began to overreach. Word leaked that Pierce wanted Spain to sell the slave-owning island of Cuba to the United States, rousing sectional divisions.

Then he supported repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which limited the expansion of slavery in the west. Causes of the Civil War. James Madison and the Making of America. Sex Lives Of The Presidents.


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Franklin Pierce by Michael F. Holt

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Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori. The 14th President, by Michael F. This book is held back by the authors antiseptic presentation of facts. He refuses to analyze the events, interpret motives, or draw conclusions from any of the events of the period or writings of Pierce. On one hand, this is a well researched retelling of events that allows the reader to form their own judgements. However, it neglects the impact of events that HAD to have influenced Pierce. Take for instance that Pierce's young son died in front of him in a train accident months before the inau This book is held back by the authors antiseptic presentation of facts.

Take for instance that Pierce's young son died in front of him in a train accident months before the inauguration. Surely the despair and possibly PTSD from such an event affected his judgement during his time in office? Yet, life-altering moments like these are barely touched on with no reflection. The book is adequate but will likely leave readers without a grasp of the spirit of the time or the man it is based on. Nov 23, Alissa rated it liked it Shelves: Concise overview of this one term president as we get closer to the civil war. Tried to cater to southerners. Wanted to keep the party together.

Was blamed for "bleeding Kansas". Mar 10, Zach Koenig rated it really liked it. After the abrupt death of President Zachary Taylor and the resulting middling presidency of Millard Fillmore, President Franklin Pierce at least brought some stability back to the White House. Unfortunately, the country was anything but stable at that point in time, and a few of Pierce's decision only inflamed matters. In this book, author Holt focuses on two primary areas of Pierce's life: Besides the requisite backstory, Holt keys in on Pierce's obsession with preserving the strength of the Dem After the abrupt death of President Zachary Taylor and the resulting middling presidency of Millard Fillmore, President Franklin Pierce at least brought some stability back to the White House.

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What I liked about this book is that it doesn't try to defend Pierce. Instead, author Holt fully accepts the notion that Pierce was not one of our country's greatest leaders, and tries to give us readers a better idea of why certain events played out as they did. About the only criticism I have is that, at times, the book goes way too deep into the inner workings of the Democratic Party, producing a listing of names and committees that more casual readers will just kind of gloss over.

I understand Holt's desire to be thorough, but I still think it was a bit overkill. Despite that one small negative, this is a very well-written, engaging edition to this series. Nothing to shy away from, that is for sure. Dec 30, Gary Schantz rated it really liked it. After reading about this president on Wikipedia, I became intrigued about his biography.

This book was very informative and detailed about the Pierce's life. This was man who experienced many heartbreaks such as the death of all his children while they were young and all of these deaths took place before he became president. The most recent death was of the only child who lived to be 12 and was killed a few weeks before Pierce was inaugurated. From the get-go his presidency was doomed because After reading about this president on Wikipedia, I became intrigued about his biography.

From the get-go his presidency was doomed because of the slavery issue and as a result he would serve only one-term. He was never able to solve the slavery dilemma without alienating his own party as well the country itself. Sadly, he has been rated as one of the worse president in history simply because he was seen as too accomodating to both sides of the issue because he didnt want to see a civil war break out by outright outlawing slavery. With every new territory that would join the country during his short time in office, disputes broke out over whether they would be slave or free states.

In the end, his own party would discard him in favor of James Buchanan who would suffer the same fate as Pierce four years later. The book did a great job of explaining his life, his presidency, and they way he conducted himself as a man. It was a short but good read. Sep 24, Shawn Thrasher rated it liked it. Holt does an admirable job of exploring the failures I'm not sure if there were any successes - I certainly don't remember any from the book of the Pierce presidency.

There's actually not a whole lot to say about what Pierce did do during his one term in office, but it sounds like he basically sat back and did mostly nothing. At least some presidents dither and worry - Pierce seemed to just sit. He makes Calvin Coolidge seem like a mover and shaker, that's for sure. Nero at least fiddled while Holt does an admirable job of exploring the failures I'm not sure if there were any successes - I certainly don't remember any from the book of the Pierce presidency.

Nero at least fiddled while Rome burned.

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Pierce did a whole lot of nothing. He was a mostly forgettable legislator. If only he were as forgettable a president - he is memorable, but for his proclivity to do nothing. His post presidency, when he could have built a legacy Carter, anyone? Franklin Pierce will hopefully always be the example of what NOT to do as president.

Holt made his material as interesting as he could. As Julie Andrews sang: The s say "thanks. Jul 18, Steven Peterson rated it liked it. This is a solid biography of Franklin Pierce, often rated as in the bottom tier of American presidents. The book does a nice job of describing Pierce's ascent to political power, from his base in New Hampshire.

His father had been a political figure and James followed in his footsteps. He became president because of a deadlock in the convention. He emerged as an acceptable candidate to other factions and won. However, his presidency was not successful. In his zeal to hold the fractious Democ This is a solid biography of Franklin Pierce, often rated as in the bottom tier of American presidents. In his zeal to hold the fractious Democratic party together, he ended up presiding over a slow disintegration as the country moved toward the election. He was denied renomination and led his life out fairly quietly.

A good, solid, brief biography for those who don't want to delve deeply into the subject matter. That brevity is both a strength and a weakness, since various themes cannot be fully developed. Nov 04, Jeremy Maddux rated it it was ok. I read this hoping to dispel the arguments of his detractors. When even the author was trying very hard to defend him and failed, I arrived at the same conclusion as them.

He was pretty damn horrible any way you cut it. His only saving grace was that he cut a pretty tragic figure in losing his wife and all of their children young, being alone at the end of his life with only author Nathaniel Hawthorne as a friend and dying of aggressive alcoholism. Also, there's a bit of rambling in the middle th I read this hoping to dispel the arguments of his detractors. Also, there's a bit of rambling in the middle that I felt teetered on the verge of becoming 'infodump.

Mar 07, Mike Fournier rated it liked it. Being blindingly handsome didn't help this poor sap from steering us into civil war. Would certainly like to go more in depth on his drunken adventures. Oct 14, Judy Baker rated it liked it Shelves: Holt's biography of Franklin Pierce is another in the series of The American Presidents, which was designed to give a broad and introductory view of each president. Some of these less successful one-term presidents do not capture the attention of historians and offer few biographies.

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I wish I had the time to read Peter Wallner's two-part series, as it apparently offers a more in-depth insightful view of Pierce. However, it has taken me nearly two years to get through 14 presidents, and I would r Holt's biography of Franklin Pierce is another in the series of The American Presidents, which was designed to give a broad and introductory view of each president.

However, it has taken me nearly two years to get through 14 presidents, and I would really like to attain my goal of reading a biography of each president while I can still see! Holt's biography was readable and hit the highlights, offering more than I knew before I picked up the book. As the political and social events of the mids continue their slide toward what was the inevitability of civil war, Franklin Pierce's name is added to the list of men who failed to stop the volcanic eruption and whose reputation was marred in the process. Franklin was a young handsome politician, who like many others, developed a taste for politics at the knee of a father active in the American Revolution.

He was one of the Young Americans, a new breed of activists who felt that age had had its opportunity and that it was time for young blood and new ideas. The Whig Party was in its death throes, and as a result, the Democratic Party could afford to be weakened by sectional issues, and Pierce's strong pro-southern views made him a shoe-in.

However, his choices of other Young Americans to serve on the international stage, men over confident and ignorant of the diplomatic tact needed to work in the intercultural arena resulted in some major headaches abroad. And although he had had some success as a young senator, his transition from being at the helm in New Hampshire, where his father's name still held much sway, to the national stage was much the same as that of a big fish in a little pond being somewhat ignorant of the fact that he was a much littler fish in a much bigger pond and that the bigger fish were not particularly friendly.

He led the country into the Kansas kerfuffle, excusing congress from legislating the slavery issue, and leaving it to the hands of a very polarized population. Much criticism is heaped on these presidents whose terms lead up to the Civil War. And historians seem to blame each one in their turn for failure to stop the slipping decline. The expansion of the country and the failure of each and every generation since the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence to address the slavery issue fueled this molten fire. And at some time in the 25 years before the Civil War, these super-heated issues passed the tipping point.

All along the path are presidents who disliked slavery but had slaves and who felt slavery would eventually have to cease but not in THEIR time, thank you very much. I would like to challenge some historically-inclined game programmer to develop some sort of SIM game of the events of this era, giving each hind-sighted historian a chance to see if they could have resolved these events any better. Might help some future politician develop some expertise before making it to the big time stage!

Jul 30, Meg Compton rated it liked it Shelves: Overall, a decent summary of strongly disliked president. I'm still reeling from the fact that the author devotes just ONE sentence to the tragic and gruesome death of Franklin's son in a train wreck just weeks before his inauguration. The accident was witnessed by both Franklin and his wife and cost them the life of their last surviving child.

How such a significant event could be so glossed over by the author cost him a full star from me. That being said, I love a detailed post-presidency acco Overall, a decent summary of strongly disliked president. That being said, I love a detailed post-presidency account and Holt provides just that. As for the American Presidents Series in general, I have been very pleased. The books are a wonderful resource particularly for exposure to the less popular presidents. However, they are badly packaged.