American Lion by Jon Meacham
Andrew Jackson in the White House

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Synopsis

Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency. 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. To tell the saga of Jackson’s presidency, acclaimed author Jon Meacham goes inside the Jackson White House. Drawing on newly discovered family letters and papers, he details the human drama–the family, the women, and the inner circle of advisers–that shaped Jackson’s private world through years of storm and victory.

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–from Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt to FDR to Truman–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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Jon Meacham

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Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek and author of American Lion and the New York Times bestsellers Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. He lives in New York City with his wife and children.
 
Published November 4, 2008 by Random House. 512 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Lion

Kirkus Reviews

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Newsweek editor Meacham makes a solid case that the war-hero president was largely responsible for expanding the power of the executive branch.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Publishers Weekly

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Newsweek editor and bestselling author Meacham (Franklin and Winston ) offers a lively take on the seventh president’s W

Sep 15 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

The New York Times

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... Book Review | 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,' by Jon
Meacham NOV. 14, 2008. On Wednesday, December 17, 1828, ...

Nov 14 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

The New York Times

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“And in Jackson’s case, it was a brawl in which he could not stand to lose ground or points, even for a moment.” “American Lion” also manages, without becoming unduly excited by what the future president Martin Van Buren would call “this disgusting petticoat business,” to convey the stubbornness ...

Nov 09 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

The New York Times

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Free to call on Peggy Eaton and ride horses with Jackson, he displaced Calhoun as vice president in the second Jackson administration and entered the White House himself in 1837.

Nov 14 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Publishers Weekly

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Historian and Newsweek editor Meacham's third book examines over 200 years of American history in its quest to prove the idea of religious tolerance, along with the separation of church and state, is ""perhaps the most brilliant American success."" Meacham's principal focus is on the founding fat...

| Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

New York Journal of Books

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Natural comparisons are made to David McCullough’s John Adams, yet while Adams is almost elegant in its prose and historical presentation Lion is drawn from the essence of the Jackson Era, finding its delivery in wonderfully readable and realistic voice.

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

New York Journal of Books

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“The darker the night the bolder the lion.” —Theodore Roosevelt It’s the smallest of quotes on a page which many readers might very well skip, but for the reader about to undertake American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House it is the most prescient of literary foreshadowing.

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Book Reporter

Jackson was a slave owner,.

Nov 11 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Entertainment Weekly

The seventh president of the United States, a scrappy frontier lawyer-turned-gentleman planter, was best described by a childhood wrestling mate: ''I could throw him three times out of four, but he would never stay throwed.'' Jon Meacham bolsters American Lion, his bio of Andrew Jackson, with rec...

Nov 26 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

"This is not an academic study" of Jackson's presidency but rather "a biographical portrait of Jackson and of many of the people who lived and worked with him," Jon Meacham tells us.

Nov 13 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Tampa Bay Times

(Jackson, by the way, had spent the intervening four years running for president — another modern first.) Adams was a genuine intellectual who for the last 20 years of his life spoke out against slavery in the House of Representatives.

Jan 10 2009 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

The Daily Beast

In his classic The Future of American Politics (1952), the political journalist Samuel Lubell said that our two-party system in fact consists of periods of alternating one-party rule—there is a majority "sun" party and a minority "moon" party.

Aug 28 2009 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Bookmarks Magazine

The editor of Newsweek magazine, Jon Meacham has written two previous books on American history: American Gospel, which explored the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers, and Franklin and Winston, which examined the relationship between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

Nov 16 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Booklist Online

But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 170,000 reviews.

Nov 15 2008 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

Library Journal

BIOG Newsweek editor Meacham (Franklin and Winston) presents in this elegantly written and fascinating biography the life story of the President credited with the first major expansion of executive power.

Apr 13 2009 | Read Full Review of American Lion: Andrew Jackson...

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