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Very enjoyable book. The author does an excellent job of bringing together multiple threads of events that contributed to the 1837 depression in a way that tells a coherent story. The author also includes the necessary background information for the reader to place the events in an understandable context. Not really a narrative history, but a very strong analytic history of the event that doesn't sacrifice readability. The author often takes short sidetracks to add color and interest to the main story, but in a way that doesn't break the flow of the main story.
Excellent companion to read along with "Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times" by H.W. Brands. Another book that goes well with this is "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow which provides a great background to the Bank of the United States and the tension between the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian visions of the United States.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have to admit I was looking for a social history, focusing on how people responded to the depression, and this wasn't it. However, it is an interesting look at this turning point in American history. Robert's persuasively argues that this economic crisis pushed Americans to reconceive the role of state governments and their assumptions about economic growth. Most interestingly, Roberts demonstrates the complicated interrelationships between American popular belief in their destiny to expand across the continent, the military and diplomatic aspects of this expansion, and the reality that antebellum America economically depended on British investments, banks, and customers. Politicians might be guided by popular enthusiasm but they also had to contend with economic realities that might contradict the will of the people.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful