• John C. Calhoun: American Portrait

  • By: Margaret L. Coit
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 29 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 17-12-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (1 rating)

Summary

Author Margaret Coit's Pulitzer Prize winning biography of John C. Calhoun is a towering accomplishment in the writing of American history, powerful in the fullest sense of the word. This is no bland recital of dates and events. It is a searing, blinding, cascading roller coaster of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and above all, human, history. The listener lives through hot, sleepy days on the South Carolina frontier of Calhoun's youth; goes with him to Yale in 1802 where the scent of the sea wafted in through his rooms; to the stern, New England town of Litchfield, Connecticut and its law school to study under Federalist mentors, and where students were expected to wear buckled breeches and ruffled stocks.
Muddy, primitive Washington, D.C. comes to life in the terrible years when our national tragedy of disunion was unfolding, with Jackson, Benton, Randolph, Webster, Clay, and Calhoun each struggling in his own way to avert catastrophe. When you have known the great South Carolinian at all the stages of his life; when you have lived through the events which determined his views; and when you have followed the path of his relentless logic - then you will finally understand our Civil War as few of us have ever been able to understand it before. In Miss Coit's brilliant story of Calhoun's personal life we discover a man of human frailties and human magnificence, much different from the image in those brooding photographs. And for the first time we understand how John C. Calhoun held the passionate loyalty of his people.
©1950 Estate of Margaret L. Coit (P)2014 Audio Connoisseur
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Critic reviews

"Provides far and away the most detailed, vivid, and convincing personal characterization of Calhoun we have." (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Nation)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By T Duff on 03-03-15

Wonderful subject, beautifully told and narrated

What made the experience of listening to John C. Calhoun: American Portrait the most enjoyable?

I knew little of John C. Calhoun and only had a superficial understanding of the old deep antebellum South apart from the lone issue of slavery. I found the subject extremely interesting and exotic. This is an excellent personal and cultural history. The writing style, which at first strikes one as archaic, takes on a life and character of its own and adds greatly to the experience. One of the finest political biographies I have encountered in years.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By loganb on 07-11-17

Great biography of one member of the Triumverate

This book does a great job of explaining Calhoun's Scottish-Irish background.

We then are told about how Calhoun went to Yale (1802). During his time at Yale he was exposed to the New England view that if the United States started a war with Britain that negatively affected New England's trade relationship with them that they (New England) could secede from the union of states.

The book explains how the strong will of his wife could possibly have been the cause that Calhoun never became president. His wife, Floride, was responsible for ostracizing Peggy Eaton for an alleged adulterous affair with her 2nd husband while her 1st husband was still alive (before he committed suicide).

We then learn about the 1832 Tariff, a protectionist tariff that benefitted New England diversified merchants more than southern cotton farmers. This tariff leads to the nullification crisis and tensions from the crisis lead to Calhoun's resignation of the Vice Presidency.

Overall, it's a great read!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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