In Polk, Walter R. Borneman gives us the first complete and authoritative biography of a president often overshadowed in image but seldom outdone in accomplishment. James K. Polk occupied the White House for only four years, from 1845 to 1849, but he plotted and attained a formidable agenda: He fought for and won tariff reductions, reestablished an independent Treasury, and, most notably, brought Texas into the Union, bluffed Great Britain out of the lion’s share of Oregon, and wrested California and much of the Southwest from Mexico. On reflection, these successes seem even more impressive, given the contentious political environment of the time.
In this unprecedented, long-overdue warts-and-all look at Polk’s life and career, we have a portrait of an expansionist president and decisive statesman who redefined the country he led, and we are reminded anew of the true meaning of presidential accomplishment and resolve.
About the Author
Walter R. Borneman is the author of several books, including Polk, 1812: The War That Forged a Nation, The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America, and Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land. He is the president of the Walter V. and Idun Y. Berry Foundation, which funds postdoctoral fellowships in children’s health at Stanford University.
“A terrific portrait of a man and his times.”—Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston
“For quite a while we’ve needed a new biography of James K. Polk–America’s great underrated president. Now, at last, Walter R. Borneman has delivered the goods. This book is both well written and diligently researched. Highly recommended!” –Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University, author of The Great Deluge
“Borneman gives us a book that is full of interest and insight and is a pleasure to read.”—Robert Middlekauff, Bancroft Prize-winning author of The Glorious Cause
“[An] informed and readable biography.” —Wall Street Journal
“Borneman is a trailblazer in the mold of his subject [and has produced] a volume that can stand with all but the very best presidential biographies.”—Louisville Courier-Journal
“With impressive exuberance . . . Borneman rightly describes his subject as America’s greatest expansionist president.”—Austin American Statesman
“Borneman manages to pull [many] threads together into a comprehensible and entertaining narrative. . . . [His] biography gives Polk his due.”—Rocky Mountain News