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American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
American Lion Andrew Jackson in the White House
Author: Jon Meacham
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 d...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781400063253
ISBN-10: 1400063256
Publication Date: 11/11/2008
Pages: 512
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 23

3 stars, based on 23 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
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reviewed American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book focuses on the White House years of Andrew Jacksons life. A surprising amount of Jacksons story centers around the scandalous marriage of one of his long-time supporters and Cabinet members (was she still married? was she not?), but other colorful characters abound as well Calhoun, Clay, Van Buren. Meacham also gives a great deal of attention to the women in the White House (who often remain behind the scenes).

For some reason, Jackson did not seem like a compelling character in this book. He was smart, politically astute, and stubborn. He staved off secession of South Carolina (and perhaps other states), and he clearly changed the nature of the presidency. But I never glimpsed his soul in this book. He remains for me a far-off politician important historically, but still only a face on the twenty dollar bill.
reviewed American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House on + 163 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Parts of the book are hard to read if only because you're reading about such an internally inconsistent egomaniac who thought slavery was tons of fun and a great thing to do, that ignoring past treaties with the Cherokee nation was pretty cool, and that a minority group within the Cherokee nation who agreed to be transplanted west of the Mississippi was binding on the whole tribe, and that the US was therefore justified when it forcibly moved the tribe, and who thought he was a great champion of liberty and the savior of the union.

But he's an important president, and a huge figure necessary for the understanding of where the modern presidency came from. And this book does give you that.

It's not great as a biography - it really is about his two administrations with a little bit of bumper on either side, but it gives a great sense of him, of his cabinet, and of his political opponents John Calhoun and Henry Clay.

Also, the federal bank was probably a bad thing and I'm glad he relentlessly pursued and destroyed it.
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