American Lion

American Lion

Andrew Jackson in the White House

Large Print - 2008
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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.
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, c2008
Edition: 1st large print ed
ISBN: 9780739328170
Characteristics: xxxiii, 876 p. (large print), [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm


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Aug 09, 2018

Compelling for readers who either like or dislike Andrew Jackson’s statesmanship. Author’s passion was palpable throughout, infectious, a bit over the top erasing the nuance of complexities to instead tell matter of fact.
The easiest biography I’ve read, well correlated with other biographies of American luminaries, also offered me valuable history lessons of the country.

“...a father to the people”...

ArapahoeSarah Aug 29, 2017

I enjoyed Jon Meacham's "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" better than his biography on Andrew Jackson. It is possible that I may have found the life of Thomas Jefferson to be more interesting than Andrew Jackson, but I also feel that the writing style in the biography about President Jefferson to be more engaging. It seems like there is too much detail in this biography, but oddly I did not feel as if I had a real good sense of who President Jackson was. However, President Jackson was a complicated, controversial figure in history and the biography does a decent job of highlighting this fact.

Jun 07, 2017

Like a number of people, I was interested in this book because of Trump's embrace of Andrew Jackson as a model, which drew some criticism. But, then again, so does everything he does. The average citizen probably knows that Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory," gained fame in the Battle of New Orleans, and was responsible for Indian removal in the South, which culminated in the brutal and shameful Trail of Tears. He's also on the $20 bill. Jon Meacham's book may not entirely change your opinion of the man, but it will give you a more nuanced understanding of him and his times, which includes colorful figures like John Quincy Adams, John Callhoun, and Daniel Webster. You can admire him for being anti-elitist (Something Trump is as well, despite being an elite.), expanding voting rights, and taking on the banks. Then again, he was bellicose, personally (He fought a number of duels.) and politically, his populism (Again, Trump.) had an ugly side, and, finally, there is the great stain on his presidency (And the nation.) that is the treatment of the Native Americans. You'd think all these contradictions would make for a fascinating read, but, while well-researched, the book is dull and inert. History fails to come alive.

Mar 08, 2017

“American Lion” was my recommendation because, before reading it, and having done a little research into facts about President Andrew Jackson, I believed that he and President Trump shared many similarities. The more I read, the more I believed that both men were convinced the government of the United States was controlled by a relatively small, insular group of people. Further, that this group of “elitists” believed that they should govern the majority of Americans because the great mass was not capable to do this. Both men believed that they had to change this situation and return to a popular-based government versus rule by a small group of “selectmen.”


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