Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series by Ted Widmer:
As the newly elected senator Van Buren wended his way toward Washington, there were precious few reasons to expect that he would enjoy the same success that he had found in New York politics. At home, a Byzantine in Byzantium, he had deciphered the local bureaucracy and prevailed against formidable enemies. But the national stage was vast, unfamiliar, and unforgiving. Those who dominated it possessed qualities that were foreign to him—stentorian voices, aristocratic noses, generous estates. His talents, at first glance, would seem more congenial to the House of Representatives than to the Roman Senate. But once again he would trump the cynics. Within seven years, he created the modern Democratic Party, anointed Andrew Jackson as its standard-bearer, and revolutionized American politics forever.