Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Review: American Lion by Jon Meacham

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White Houseis a biography of a man of opposites - both gentle and prone to anger, both compassionate and violent. Following not the entire history of Jackson's life, but with emphasis on his years in the White House, Meacham recounts a time in history that helped to shape American politics and the presidency today.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (New York Times Notable Books)

Just in time for this book review, I was mentioned in a list of 100 Best Book Blogs for History Buffs (which was terribly surprising to me, but I'll take it). For more blogs with good history books, go to the list.

Things I Liked:
Andrew Jackson was a very interesting and complex individual, and I really enjoyed especially the anecdotal stories that portray his character and personality. The development of his policies and practices was interesting as well. I also like how both his good and his bad characteristics are told with equal parts - it seemed more objective that way.

Things I Didn't Like:
I found parts of the book were very dry. I suppose it is almost inevitable when doing an accurate biography of real people to not have boring sections, but there seemed to be a lot in this book. Some parts of Jackson's life were remarkably interesting and others, perhaps more when the author went on some tangents, were rather dull. I also wish it had been more chronological, especially near the beginning.

John Adams and 1776 by David McCullough

s-factor: !@
a few here and there

mrg-factor: X
spoken of, but not described

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

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