The first three of a series of biographies published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co., under the title of the "Riverside Biographical Series" are the work of Harvard men.
William Garrott Brown '91, deputy keeper of the University Records, has written the life of Andrew Jackson, an interesting account of this picturesque personage, whose true place in our history has always been a disputed question. The book does not enter the field of minute detail and criticism; it is "for those who would rather understand than judge him." Mr. Brown writes of his character charitably but without bias; he does not attempt to diagnose his faults or condone his vices, but he does not dwell upon them with distorting emphasis. The Creek and Seminole wars, the battle of New Orleans, the history of Jackson in politics are entertamingly fold and one comes partly to understand that influence which he held over so many in his time, and which softened even his enemies, to their consternation.
The Life of Franklin, by Paul E. More, A. M. '93, covers ground more threshed out, and tells a more practical and less romantic story. It is ably and comprehensively written, and is also marked by generosity of treatment. The public side of Franklin is made prominent, but the author also discusses his religion at some length. The cavils against his character he considers are refuted by the eulogy of Washington. It is pleasant to find two books on much criticized men of the past which express such liberal views.
Louis How, '95 tells the story of his grandfather, James B. Eads, the engineer, a great man who did not owe his greatness to political success; whose greatness was of such a stamp that he was not allured by suggestions of political influence as a reward for brilliant achievements in another line. He was a man without schooling, but of great genius, and an indefatigable worker; the story of his rise from walking the Mississippi bottom under a diving-bell to the position of the leading hydraulic engineer of his time, and more than any other man, the river's master, is wonderfully interesting, and loses no interest in the telling.
The books are attractively bound in dark red cloth, with rough edges and gilt top. Each volume contains a photogravure portrait. The price is seventy-five cents.