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BOOK REVIEWS279 garded him as a skillful statesman. In the end, the Civil War destroyed Pickens as it destroyed his world. He died in 1869, an outcast in a state controlled by political leaders he distrusted and feared. The great strength and weakness of this study of Pickens's life is that it is a traditional political biography of a man and his times. As with many such biographies, the central focus is on a man and his attempts to achieve and then govern in public office. The book tells us a great deal about the nature of political success and failure in nineteenth-century South Carolina. But, as with many such biographies, the focus on public office follows from a definition of politics which is narrow and leaves much unexplored. Pickens did not just "govern" in legislatures and statehouses, he also "governed" slaves on plantations. The book tells us nothing about Pickens's life on his plantation or about his relations with any slave. Pickens also "governed" in a family, but we learn very little about his family relations. Edmunds tells us that Pickens married three times, yet we learn almost nothing about his relations with women. We learn little more about Pickens's children than that they had names. The existence of an illegitimate child is mentioned only briefly, almost as an afterthought. All these omissions would be fine if we could really understand political leaders with reference to their public activities alone. But life in families and on plantations is intertwined with life in public office. Drew Faust's recent biography of Pickens's contemporary, James Henry Hammond, stands in contrast to this more narrowly focused study by Edmunds. Faust gives us a whole man while Edmunds offers us a piece of one. Still, given the difficulty of following the twists of Pickens 's political maneuverings over a long, meandering career, Edmunds is to be commended for the piece he has offered us. KennethS. Greenberg Suffolk University The Life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams. By Leonard L. Richards. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Pp. x, 245. $19.95.) This is a very readable and sensible little book. It is by no means the last word on John Quincy Adams, nor is it even the definitive study of Adams's years in Congress, but it thoughtfully interprets Adams's congressional career and is helpful in explaining the political and sectional controversies of the 1830s and 1840s. Professor Richards explains in his preface that instead of giving a detailed account of Adams's congressional career, he has "concentrated on certain controversial questions, selecting thedata and arranging the narrative accordingly" (p. vii). The first two chapters concentrate on the reasons why Adams chose to run for Congress, on his political leanings, and on the district which he represented. In the second chapter there is a 280CIVIL WAR HISTORY very useful analysis of Adams's connection with the antimasonry movement. In the rest of the book, Richards selectively comments on the role of Adams's in the national politics of the 1830s and 1840s. After a chapter concentrating on the main events of the Jackson presidency, Richards devotes much of the book to a discussion of Adams and the sectional controversy. There are discussions of Adams's reaction to the rise of the antislavery movement, to his major role in the "gag rule" issue, to his perceptions of the role of the slave owners in directing the course of national policy, and to Adams's position on Texas and the Mexican War. In discussing Adams's reaction to major national events, Richards gives brief summaries of general historical developments. At times these are too text-like, but they provide a useful summary of recent research on a number of topics. The analysis of Adams is balanced, although there is too little on the relationship ofAdams to the national Whig party. On the whole, however, this is a perceptive book which presents sound insights into Adams's last years as well as providing a useful introduction to the national crises of the 1830s and 1840s. R ECINALD HORSMAN University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee North For Union: John Appleton's Journal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 279-280
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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