Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson's election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad.
One of our most significant yet dimly recalled presidents, Jackson was a battle-hardened warrior, the founder of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the presidency as we know it. His story is one of violence, sex, courage, and tragedy.
With his powerful persona, his evident bravery, and his mystical connection to the people, Jackson moved the White House from the periphery of government to the center of national action, articulating a vision of change that challenged entrenched interests to heed the popular will or face his formidable wrath. The greatest of the presidents who have followed Jackson in the White House have found inspiration in his example, and virtue in his vision.
Jackson was the most contradictory of men. The architect of the removal of Indians from their native lands, he was warmly sentimental and risked everything to give more power to ordinary citizens. He was, in short, a lot like his country: alternately kind and vicious, brilliant and blind; and a man who fought a lifelong war to keep the republic safe, no matter what it took.
Jon Meacham, in American Lion, has delivered the definitive human portrait of a pivotal president who forever changed the American presidency and America itself.
©2008 Random House Audio; ©2008 Jon Meacham
A master storyteller, Meacham interweaves the lives of Jackson and the members of his inner circle to create a highly original book." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
"American Lion is a spellbinding, brilliant and irresistible journey into the heart of Andrew Jackson and his unforgettable circle of friends and enemies." (Michael Beschloss)
"What passes for political drama today pales in the reading of Jon Meacham's vividly told story of our seventh president....Reading "American Lion" one is no longer able to look on the gaunt, craggy face on the $20 bill without hearing the tumult of America in the making." (Tina Brown)
I think the only other biography I've read with higher praise for its main character is the New Testament. The Indians perform "brutal massacres on the settlers", whereas Jackson wins a glorious victory over the Indians, all Jackson's political opponents are conniving and greedy whereas Jackson himself is as good as the day is long and so on. The author's infatuation with Jackson blurs the historical details to such an extent that it's difficult to know what the true facts are.
Jackson might have been a great man, but I would have preferred to make up my own mind.
no - abridgement was choppy and made it difficult to pause restart.
I'll give him one more shot but if that style is also melodramatic in presentation, it will be my last attempt with a Meacham book.
Never. His mimicry was embarrassing. He performed. He didn't read.
No - I'll reserve my comments on the book itself once I've completed the printed version
I've not read the print version yet, but based on the audio edition, I bought the book.
The details both social and political.
He sounded like a southerner, more Virginian than Tennessean but still, that Southern Gentleman voice
Yes, but I couldn't.
I felt as though he spent so much time glorifying him I never felt as though I got to know Jackson as a person. He doesn't seem to have a good flow and jumps around a lot. I am very dissatisfied with this book. I just do not care for this style of righting .
Jon Meacham is a master narrative historian who has proven time and again that he can tell a story with depth and make it accessible to a broad public. He continues this in American Lion, where he writes about one of the more colorful personalities who resided in the White House. I give this four stars only because the subject matter can sound dry at parts, and I think that it is purely subjective if others would agree with me. I personally was not looking for as much background information on the era, a time which I do not find terribly interesting. I was looking for a personal look at the man himself, which I certainly got. This is highly recommended for anyone interested in American history, and with the proviso that it may help to be interested in the time period, I believe this is a book any lover of history would enjoy.
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