Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review of "American Lion"

Subtitled: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham. The subject was interesting. He was our seventh president. He came from humble beginnings as his father died before he was born and his mother and brothers died during the revolution leaving him an orphan at age 14. He was struck by a British officer during the revolution which gave his his distinctive facial scar which can be seen on the $20 bill. He won a convincing victory over the British at New Orleans during the war of 1812 even though the war was technical already over. He was the first to lose an election (1824 to John Quincy Adams) after having the most votes due to his rivals joining forces (Henry Clay became Secretary of State) in the House. He was quoted by future presidents (e.g Abraham Lincoln, FDR) and has a statue less than 1000 ft from the back of the white house.

Unfortunately the book didn't live up to the subject. I found myself getting confused as the author would jump backwards and forwards chronologically without much warning. He also quoted quite heavily from letters of the time, that I found difficult to understand, with little explanation. He spent a lot of words on family relations and less on important historical events of the time. I have not read another book on Andrew Jackson, but I would hope there is a better one out there. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times looks promising as it got slightly better reviews at Amazon.

No comments: