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James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse” is Sam Haynes’s 1996 biography of our eleventh president. He is also the author of two other books, his most recent titled “Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World.” Haynes is a history professor and Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies at UT Arlington.

Haynes’s biography is the oldest of my three books on James Polk and is also the slimmest. At a little over two-hundred pages of text, it is not quite brief enough to serve as a “Cliff’s Notes” on the life of Polk, but neither can it qualify as a full-scale, comprehensive biography.

Unlike most other Polk biographers, Haynes does not seem predisposed to a favorable view of Polk and his legacy. Instead, he paints a decidedly balanced, and at times bluntly critical, portrait of the former president’s strengths and faults. Where most authors are inclined to defend their subjects no matter their shortcomings, Haynes is content to…

– Click here for the full review at BestPresidentialBios.com –

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