James's Reviews > American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

American Lion by Jon Meacham
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's review
Apr 08, 12

bookshelves: books-left-unfinished
Recommended to James by: gift from Michaela
Read in January, 2009

I wanted to like this book. I have done some reading about the Jackson era and being intrigued by the little I had read, the prospect of 300 plus pages on Jackson left me expectant. This is a very poorly written book. During first sixty pages, the author jumps decades from one paragraph to the next with little to connect them - just an odd collection of anecdotes.

But what is highly annoying is the author's penchant to fantasize about what someone was thinking, presenting it as fact. "Emily was thinking of her husband's future that night" or some similar nonsense. How does he know what Emily was thinking? Perhaps the woman wrote about what she was thinking in a diary, but the author should either quote her or reference it. I suspect that a lot of these were speculative statements on the part of the author.

Worst of all, it began to read like a gossip column. This woman slept with this man, this man thought this woman attractive, this person would not be seen in society with the other.

If you want to learn about Andrew Jackson, stay away from this book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sharon Bengel Read Brands book instead.

message 2: by Wlaycook (new) - added it

Wlaycook Just playing devil's advocate, but it's not all that unusual for narrative historians to speculate about the "present past." I do agree that footnotes are desperately needed in this narrative.

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