Andrew Johnson

The American Presidents Series: The 17th President, 1865-1869

The American Presidents

Annette Gordon-Reed; Arthur M. Schlesinger and Sean Wilentz, General Editors

Times Books

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian recounts the tale of the unwanted president who ran afoul of Congress over Reconstruction and was nearly removed from office

Andrew Johnson never expected to be president. But just six weeks after becoming Abraham Lincoln's vice president, the events at Ford's Theatre thrust him into the nation's highest office.

Johnson faced a nearly impossible task—to succeed America's greatest chief executive, to bind the nation's wounds after the Civil War, and to work with a Congress controlled by the so-called Radical Republicans. Annette Gordon-Reed, one of America's leading historians of slavery, shows how ill-suited Johnson was for this daunting task. His vision of reconciliation abandoned the millions of former slaves (for whom he felt undisguised contempt) and antagonized congressional leaders, who tried to limit his powers and eventually impeached him.

The climax of Johnson's presidency was his trial in the Senate and his acquittal by a single vote, which Gordon-Reed recounts with drama and palpable tension. Despite his victory, Johnson's term in office was a crucial missed opportunity; he failed the country at a pivotal moment, leaving America with problems that we are still trying to solve.

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Book Excerpts

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Introduction

"The True Index of His Heart"

Frederick Douglass saw it in a brief glance he exchanged with Andrew Johnson during one of the most important rituals in the life of the American nation, performed at the most trying time in the country's history. It was March 4, 1865, and Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson were about to be sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, of the United States of America. The forty-seven-year-old Douglass, the former enslaved man who had become a world-renowned abolitionist, had joined the throngs that descended upon Washington to

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Praise for Andrew Johnson

"In this short and brilliantly written book, award-winning author Gordon-Reed … argues that the nation went from the best President to the worst during this most crucial period of its history."—Library Journal

"In a short biography, all bases can be covered, but the author is still left to exercise the tone of a personal essay, which this author accomplishes brilliantly."--Booklist (starred review)

"A fair-minded, toned-down portrait of a deeply problematic president who could not rise to the country’s challenge after the Civil War."--Kirkus Reviews


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About the Author

Annette Gordon-Reed; Arthur M. Schlesinger and Sean Wilentz, General Editors

Annette Gordon-Reed is the author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award. She holds three appointments at Harvard University: professor of law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. A MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, she is also the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy; the coauthor with Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., of Vernon Can Read!; and the editor of Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History. She lives in New York City.

Annette Gordon-Reed
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Sean Wilentz

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times/Redux
Annette Gordon-Reed

Dominique Nabokov
Denise Applewhite
Sean Wilentz

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Available Formats and Book Details

Andrew Johnson
The American Presidents Series: The 17th President, 1865-1869
Annette Gordon-Reed; Arthur M. Schlesinger and Sean Wilentz, General Editors

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
January 2011
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429924610
ISBN10: 1429924616
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 192 pages, Includes a black-and-white frontispiece
$10.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
January 2011
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805069488
ISBN10: 0805069488
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 192 pages, 1 black-and-white frontispiece
$23.00
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