Ahhh...Martin Van Buren! President #8. I decided it'd be good to get the first President of the year over with early so that I don't get stuck with two books to read later in the year. For Martin Van Buren I choose once again a book from the American President's Series.
Martin Van Buren, Ted Widmer
I bought the book used off of amazon.com for like $3.00 - yay! It was only 200 pages, so I felt pretty confident about reading it. It was filled with lots of interesting tidbits:
- MVB was the first President to hail from New York
- MVB was the first President of non-English descent (he was Dutch!)
- MVB began what is now the Democratic Party
- MVB was the first man to run for President as an Independent (this was after he was already President).
- MVB was the fifth longest living President
As for the book...This book briefly covered his life; early years, his rise to political fame, his Presidency and his retirement. Widmer, does a great job in just 200 pages of giving the reader a sense of who Martin Van Buren was. He also does a great job of making you realize why Martin Van Buren should be remembered and pointing out all the great things he accomplished in the name of democracy, without overselling him and making the reader believe he should go down in history as one of the most important Presidents. This book is a good read for the regular reader, one who does not normally read non-fiction or biographies. I did not find it too dense and it flowed nicely.
I have to say my expectations where low for MVB, but I found him to be pretty darn fascinating. Next up William Henry Harrison, or as many of your may remember, Tippecanoe and Tyler too!