JAMES K POLK: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY
by E.I. McCormac
JAMES K POLK: TO THE PRELUDE OF WAR
(Volume One of Two)
ISBN 978-0-945707-09-7 $32.50
348 pages including illustrations and maps.
Professor McCormac's definitive biography of James K. Polk,
the nation's eleventh president, was originally published in 1922 by the
University of California Press. American Political Biography Press
has brought Professor McCormac's work back to print because it is one of
only two biographies of Polk that uses modern biographical methods and standards
to tell Polk's story. And of the two, only McCormac's takes Polk's
life through to its' conclusion. Charles Seller's excellent biography
of Polk leaves him during his term as president.
Reviewing JAMES K. POLK: A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY, J.S. Reeves
wrote in the American Historical Review for January, 1923,
"This is a careful, exhaustive, and scholarly undertaking of enduring value...
Polk's character and personality are set forth from various angles... and
the general political narrative only rarely (as in the case of the Scott-Trist
imbroglio) strays far from Polk himself. The author's claim in the
preface, to have shown Polk, 'to have been a constructive statesman - - a
statesman possessed of vision, sound judgment, and unusual executive ability',
is on the whole justified. One may perhaps murmur a wonder as to how
it came about that Polk's contemporaries erred so greatly in judgment.
Was it blind partizanship, rational disagreement, or personal dislike which
molded the opinion of Webster, Lincoln, Benton, and Calhoun? Whatever
the answer to this question may be, it is certain that Polk first and foremost
lacked charm and magnetism. With lack of charm in personality went
lack of distinction in utterance. Polk was unimaginative even though
he had vision, and while now and then he uttered something which he recorded
as 'jocose', no one has accorded to him a sense of humor. Again, with
him partizanship was almost akin to a religion. (continued on next page).