From the New York Times-bestselling author of Franklin and Winston and American Gospel comes a new portrait of Andrew Jackson, the man who shaped the modern presidency. Illustrated with black-and-white photos and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for biography.
... masterful ... Personal and political are presented in such style and illuminating narrative as to present us with an entirely human imposition of a man who was only too often underestimated by his detractors and dearly loved by those he represented, in his words, with 'the feelings of a father.' Meacham has taken the arduous task of collating such a vast volume of information and turned it into a biography which in many, many respects reads as a novel. The major difference is that it all happened, and needed to do so in the hands of Jackson—and skillfully rendered by the pen of Mr. Meacham ... Meacham gives us a genuinely engaging, intimate, and balanced account of Jackson’s personal gravitas and how nimbly he used it to perpetuate his steadfast belief in the will of the people. Indeed it is an entertaining and educational biography of the man, not of a cog in the governmental machine ... wonderfully readable and realistic voice ... Not merely an account of birth-to-grave, but more precisely a human study of how Jackson handled events surrounding him within the scope of his very humanity and his own stubborn definition of presidential rectitude ... If you have the faintest of red, white, and blue in your blood then this book should be on your must-read list—not your I’d-like-to-read-it-someday list . . . your must read list.
[Meacham] underplays the consequences of his subject’s darker qualities, especially the fact that Jackson was willing to destroy everything in order to exact revenge ... enormously entertaining, especially in the deft descriptions of Jackson’s personality and domestic life in his White House. But Meacham has missed an opportunity to reflect on the nature of American populism as personified by Jackson. What does it mean to have a president who believes that the people are a unified whole whose essence can be distilled into the pronouncements of one man?
Jon Meacham's account of Jackson's years of power does not contest the mainstream version. It selectively enriches that version with graceful new readings of some formerly overlooked primary materials, notably the private papers of members of Jackson's family circle ... comes most startlingly alive when [Meacham] tells the old, amazing story of the ill-educated rube who invented modern politics.