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Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Gr ab Audiobook, by Steve Inskeep Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Steve Inskeep Narrator: Steve Inskeep Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2015 ISBN: 9780698402942
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A thrilling narrative history of two men--President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee Chief John Ross--who led their respective nations at a crossroads of American history

Five decades after the Revolutionary War, the United States faced a constitutional crisis. At its center stood two men, former military comrades locked in a struggle that tested the boundaries of our fledgling democracy. Jacksonland is their story.

One man we recognize: Andrew Jackson—war hero, populist, and exemplar of the expanding South—whose first major initiative as president instigated the massive expulsion of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears. The other is a half-forgotten figure: John Ross—a mixed-race Cherokee politician and diplomat—who used the United States’ own legal system and democratic ideals to oppose Jackson.

Representing one of the Five Civilized Tribes, which had adopted the ways of white settlers—cultivating farms, publishing a newspaper in their own language, and sending children to school—Ross championed the tribes’ cause all the way to the Supreme Court. He gained allies like Senator Henry Clay, Chief Justice John Marshall, and even Davy Crockett. In a fight that seems at once distant and familiar, Ross and his allies made their case in the media, committed civil disobedience, and benefited from the first mass political action by American women. Their struggle contained ominous overtures of later events, such as the Civil War, and set the pattern for modern-day politics.

At stake in this struggle was the land of the Five Civilized Tribes. In shocking detail, Jacksonland reveals how Jackson, as a general, extracted immense wealth from his own armies’ conquest of Native lands. Later, as president, Jackson set in motion the seizure of tens of millions of acres in today’s Deep South, the “Jacksonland” of our story. Jacksonland is the work of renowned journalist

Steve Inskeep, cohost of NPR’s Morning Edition and author of the critically acclaimed Instant City. Inskeep offers in Jacksonland a heart-stopping narrative masterpiece, a tragedy of American history that feels ripped from the headlines in its immediacy, drama, and relevance to our lives. Harrowing, inspiring, and deeply moving, Inskeep’s Jacksonland is the story of America at a moment of transition, when the fate of states and nations was decided by the actions of two heroic yet tragically opposed men.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Inskeep skillfully captures the poignant drama of this tragic tale.”

    James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “Inskeep tells an essential story of geography, greed, and power—and the forces he so clearly delineates are the ones that shape us still.”

    Jon Meacham, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “The reader comes away feeling as if Jackson and Ross’ epic struggle for the future of their nations took place yesterday rather than nearly two hundred years ago.”

    Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author

  • “The story of the Cherokee removal has been told many times, but never before has a single book given us such a sense of how it happened and what it meant, not only for Indians, but also for the future and soul of America.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] moving tale of leadership, betrayal, and (violated) minority rights…Inskeep writes with the urgency of a thriller, a cinematic eye, and a consciousness that even history’s apparent losers won occasional important battles.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The narrative reads as if written by a watchful observer. It brings a part of history alive that is not usually discussed with this much depth.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “[A] riveting look at how Old Hickory prevailed in taking land from the Cherokee and enriching himself and his associates in the process.”


  • “Brings fresh insight to the events leading to the Trail of Tears…A nuanced dual biography that tells a compelling story of how democracy in the early nineteenth-century United States developed at the expense of Native American rights and land…Inskeep provides a stark reminder of all that was lost.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] lively narrative…Well researched, organized, and presented, this is a sober, balanced examination of the origins of one of the more regrettable chapters in American history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Steve Inskeep has paid incredible attention to detail and his references are impeccable and well researched…Clearly, our ancestors didn’t stand a chance. Steve Inskeep tells the story fairly and pays proper due diligence to the politics of the day, especially the treatment of the Five Civilized Tribes.”

    Bill John Baker, principal chief, Cherokee Nation

  • “As an NPR journalist, Steve Inskeep must craft stories in a way that allows listeners to see his subjects in their minds. In addition, when he delivers each story on the air, he has to be able to carry it along in a way that keeps listeners from tuning out. He brings both of these skills to bear in his history of Andrew Jackson’s land acquisition in what was then the western United States as well as Jackson’s relationship with the Native American peoples who lived there. Inskeep varies his voice the way a good storyteller should, with appropriate emphasis or lightness in the right places. For direct quotes, his slight pauses make it clear which are the speaker’s words and which are the author’s. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A BookPage Top Pick in History for June 2015
  • An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read” of Brainy & Brilliant Beach Books
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Author

Steve Inskeep is cohost of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” news program. He has traveled across the nation and around the world for NPR news, interviewing presidents, warlords, authors, and musicians, as well as those who aren’t in the headlines—from a steelworker in Ohio to a woman living in poverty in Tehran. He is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.