Australasia's Biggest Online Store

Shop over a million Toys in our Huge New Range

A Country of Vast Designs

Product Description
Product Details


Merry, president and editor-in-chief of Congressional Quarterly Inc., offers a wide-ranging, provocative analysis of the controversial presidency of James K. Polk. Using a broad spectrum of published and archival sources, Merry depicts Polk as an unabashed expansionist. His political career was devoted to extending American power across the continent. Polk saw the fulfillment of manifest destiny as transcending even the festering issue of slavery. Elected president in 1844, he pursued confrontational diplomacy with Britain, structured a war with Mexico and enlarged the U.S. by over a third, essentially to its present boundaries, in a single term of office. Polk's achievements were correspondingly controversial across the political spectrum. Merry uses congressional debates and newspaper quotations to depict the genesis of a fundamental, enduring debate on America's nature and role. Conceding Polk's "personal lapses and his least impressive traits." Merry makes a strong case that Polk's America embraced a sweeping vision of national destiny that he fulfilled. Merry's conclusion that history turns not on morality but on power, energy and will may be uncomfortable, but he successfully illustrates it. 16 pages of b&w photos; 1 map. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Merry (publisher, Congressional Quarterly; Sands of Empire) presents his view of James Knox Polk's presidency, describing how Polk turned his vice presidential ambitions into presidential ambitions as the first "dark horse" candidate, and then was able to accomplish his four major objectives: tariffs for revenue only, an independent federal treasury, no national debt, and expansion of the nation's boundaries to the Pacific. Drawing on Polk's correspondence, secondary sources, and records of Congressional debates, Merry focuses on the politics behind the events, showing how Polk was a master of political strategy and tactics. Merry also considers Polk's negative traits-drabness, lack of leadership qualities, tendency to micromanage-and how these led to dissension within his own party and at times jeopardized his program. VERDICT This well-written book complements Walter Borneman's Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by providing a detailed look into the Washington politics of the 1840s, making it a good starting point for general readers and undergraduates desiring to understand that era.-Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"Polk was our most underrated President. He made the United States into a continental nation. Bob Merry captures the controversial and the visionary aspects of his presidency in a colorful narrative tale populated by great characters such as Jackson, Clay, and Can Buren." -Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe "Filled with intricate stories of personal conflict, psychological gamesmanship, and unintended consequences. . . one of the most astute and informative historical accounts yet written about national politics, and especially Washington politics, during the decisive 1840s." --The New York Times Book Review "Robert Merry's authoritative biography of James K. Polk. . . provides a compelling, perceptive portrait. . . Merry joins his skill at portraiture to thorough scholarship and a shrewd grasp of human nature." -The Wall Street Journal "[Merry] brings a historian's perspective, a journalist's nose for the story and a novelist's eye to one of our country's most dramatic and defining moments. In strong, precise and elegant prose, Mr. Merry brings the key players of the day to life in terms of both personal characteristics and the causes they personified." --Washingtonian

Ask a Question About this Product More...
Write your question below:
How Fishpond Works
Fishpond works with suppliers all over the world to bring you a huge selection of products, really great prices, and delivery included on over 25 million products that we sell. We do our best every day to make Fishpond an awesome place for customers to shop and get what they want — all at the best prices online.
Webmasters, Bloggers & Website Owners
You can earn a 5% commission by selling A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent (Simon & Schuster America Collection) on your website. It's easy to get started - we will give you example code. After you're set-up, your website can earn you money while you work, play or even sleep! You should start right now!
Authors / Publishers
Are you the Author or Publisher of a book? Or the manufacturer of one of the millions of products that we sell. You can improve sales and grow your revenue by submitting additional information on this title. The better the information we have about a product, the more we will sell!
Item ships from and is sold by, Inc.
Back to top