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American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  34,813 Ratings  ·  1,423 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 639 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Random House (first published 2008)
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Christine
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book confused people. They were expecting a McCullough-esque hardcore biography of everything Jackson did EVER. Not so. As Meacham himself states in his Author's note, he was going for a biographical portrait of Jackson's time in the White House. And on that account, this is an excellent book. It gives a great picture of the tumult surrounding Jackson's two terms, the things that made him tick, and the decisions that defined his presidency. No, it didn't really tell us all about And ...more
Joe
Feb 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
A terrible book about a horrible man written by a coward. I know that sounds harsh but there's no other way to describe it. The book claims to be only about his years in the White House. It isn't. Frequently, Meacham cherry picks and subsequently white washes Jackson's past sins in an effort to show him as a complicated hero.

Jackson wasn't complicated. He was maybe one of the simplest presidents America ever had. Here are some simple facts:
1) His greatest military victory was the Battle of New O
...more
Gillian
Jan 03, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Um, did you know Andrew Jackson was a huge badass? He was also sort of a jerk. And he invented the Democratic party basically. Plus he was not very cool to the Native Americans.
Brad Lyerla
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jackson usually is praised for his vision of the presidency and commitment to the Federal Union, while simultaneously lamented for his demagoguery and racism. Meacham takes these subjects on without reservation. In Meacham's account, Jackson is at his very best while staring down the threat to the union posed by the Nullification Movement which arose in South Carolina and was championed by John C. Calhoun, Jackson's vice president. (Times were different.) He is at his worst when orchestrating th ...more
Brian
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When you try and tackle a subject as complicated as Andrew Jackson, and limit a book to just his presidency, it's just impossible to properly portray the man in the White House. So for those who have never read Marquis James or Robert Remini's multi-volume depiction of Jackson, the first 180 pages of this book read like a season story arch of a prime time soap opera. The "Eaton Affair" was a very central topic of Jackson's first term of presidency, but to understand why it was such a central foc ...more
Cassidy Cassidy
While a terrifically thorough listing of the era's political issues and the personalities clashing over them, the examination left much to be desired. The substance falls victim to a regular temptation among American authors writing American history. Meacham's approach only acknowledges in passing the character flaws of his subject while amplifying the qualities and deeds that would make Jackson a hero to many. For instance, Jackson's unrepentant slave-ownership and his role in devastating gener ...more
Bob Mayer
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given current events, this book is timely to read. Jackson did some terrible things, most particularly the treatment of Native Americans. But he also kept the Union together in the face of huge dissent. Of course, that only delayed the Civil War and kept another generation in chains.

The big takeaway is that no matter his faults, his primary concern was for the country and the people. If only modern politicians would do so, rather than focusing on their own enrichment and egos.
Celia
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, presidents, 2017
I am on a quest to read at least one book about each of the 45 presidents. (Yes, even Trump).

I learned alot about Jackson as I read this.

Rather than enumerate what I learned, please read this book to find out for yourself.

This book primarily covers the years of Jackson's presidency 1829 - 1837.

I was happy to learn about the more personal aspects of Jackson's life.

Some of what happened during his presidency was not quite so engaging. (Good, but just a litany of facts of what happened).

Suffice it
...more
Matt
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In a further exploration of the lives of those who helped shape early America, I turned back to biographer Jon Meacham and his depiction of Andrew Jackson. I thoroughly enjoying the author's depiction of Thomas Jefferson in a similar piece and hoped to leave with as much knowledge of this lesser known figure. The seventh President of the United States, Jackson broke many early precedents and his two-terms in office opened the door to a new era in presidential politics, bringing the commoner's vi ...more
Larry Bassett
OK here's the bottom line: I listened to this book in the audible format and it was dull enough on occasion that I dozed off. Not too often and not too long but it did happen!

I decided to read this book now in an effort to understand Mr. Trump's apparent admiration for Andrew Jackson. Other Goodreads reviews are mixed.

Jackson was yet another president who owned slaves. And he was yet another president who pushed the Native Americans aggressively out of their home territory. I finished the book n
...more
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Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek, a Pulitzer Prize winning bestselling author and a commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America.
More about Jon Meacham...
“Always take all the time to reflect that circumstances permit, but when the time for action has come, stop thinking. (Andrew Jackson)” 16 likes
“Jackson was a transformative president in part because he had a transcendent personality; other presidents who followed him were not transformative, and served unremarkably.” 5 likes
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