Dennis Prager, Allen discussed on Dennis Prager


Show you are listening to the best of the dennis prager show all right everybody this is dennis prager and i gotta tell you i said this to allen not just telling you i'm hurry excited about my guest and the subject it is really become one of my really fun hours when i talk about when i talk with biographers of the presidents of this country and i actually have restricted at thus far to the obscure ones who did we really did martin van buren i can't believe there's nobody in america who's devoted an hour to martin van buren i don't know if that's a good sign or a bad side about my program but who is the other one we had was at grover no no no he was two two wellknown was rutherford hayes gotta remember the other one and that was fascinating too but now we actually venture to one of the best known presidents and the new biography of andrew jackson his life and times by h w brands who also wrote a bestselling biography of benjamin franklin titled the first american professor brands is professor of history the university of texas at austin professor brands have pledged have you on the program my pleasure you know i always have a lot of questions for biographers but i i want to ask you a professor a question if if you're if this book to becomes a bestseller will you be resented by your fellow academics it's hard to say they're probably well i suppose there could be a certain envy it's not restricted to academics writers are notoriously envious of their successful peers i haven't noticed it particularly and so i really don't expect it to be any problem oh only in that i know for example you are a professor so it may not deflect you as much but i remember barbara tuchman who was not a professor was resented in the admit by many historians because she was not a professor and i don't think she had a phd in history and makes it he's popular histories and if something is popular academia doesn't always have respect for it well it is true that the term popular among academics can be a criticism i happen to think that the best popular historians are among the best historians i think barbara tuchman did wonderful oh i'm sure you do not only in terms of what she portrayed about the beginning of the first world war or the black plague in europe but for bringing a lot of people to the study of history who wouldn't have come otherwise that's an excellent point that's one that ought to be made in the academic world so i hasten to add for everybody that this book is not written in academia as it is actually written in accessible english so i think you need that people need to know that that why did you choose andrew jackson well primarily because there's a huge gap between the appreciation for jackson by jackson's peers in fact his generation and the generations after who considered him the towering figure times jackson was the great man of the first two thirds of the nineteenth century he there are more cities towns lakes squares streets named for andrew jackson then for any other figure in american history so jackson's own watch that that's fascinating well back when i was thinking about this i i tried to come up with some measure of jackson's historical popularity and i couldn't turn to public opinion polls because there weren't any at the time i thought about looking at editorials in newspapers the trouble is a nineteen th century newspapers were by and large organs of political parties and the idea that newspapers should be objective and should sort of flip a coin or render an unbiased judgment between candidates was unknown to people in the nineteenth century if people think that certain news networks today have a partisan ax to grind it was nothing compared to newspapers back in the nineteen right but at least they were honest then that's right they were actually declared this they have that's what europe has to to this day that's right and so for my purposes those that really wouldn't do any good so the best thing i could come up with was the cities towns as i say streets squares that people named for individuals and so i went to an atlas of the united states and i looked in the back and just in the index to.

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