President James K. Polk, often overlooked yet ever-consequential, comes to life in this “compelling, perceptive portrait” (The Wall Street Journal) biography of the 11th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson protégé, and champion of “manifest destiny.”
In a one-term presidency, James K. Polk completed the story of America’s Manifest Destiny—extending its territory across the continent by threatening England with war and manufacturing a controversial and unpopular two-year war with Mexico. "A crucial architect of modern America, James K. Polk deserves to be elevated out of the mists of history" (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion).
Robert W. Merry is the author of five previous books, including President McKinley: Architect of the American Century and A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent. He spent a decade covering Washington for The Wall Street Journal and served as an executive at Congressional Quarterly Inc. for twenty-two years, including twelve years as CEO. He also is the former editor of The National Interest and The American Conservative. He lives with his wife, Susan, in Langley, Washington, and Washington, DC.
“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
“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
“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
“[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