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Review, Blog Tour & Giveaway: American Lion

July 28, 2009

American Lion

American Lion by Jon Meacham is a biography of our seventh President, Andrew Jackson.  Jackson made a name for himself as a military leader at the Battle of New Orleans.  In 1824, he won the most popular votes in the Presidential election, but no one won the electoral vote, and Congress named John Quincy Adams as President.  Jackson was first elected President in 1828 and served two terms.  Jackson’s vision of the Presidency was different from that of his predecessors – he saw the President as a powerful, central leader who represented the people – and he totally changed the role of the Executive Branch of our government.  Some fascinating facts about Jackson are:

  • Jackson claimed South Carolina as his home state, but there is some dispute as to whether he was born in North Carolina or South Carolina.  Ironically, South Carolina caused a lot of controversy during Jackson’s administration.  There was lots of talk of nullification and even a vote approving it once, but Jackson managed to keep the Union together while he was in office.
  • He changed the address in diplomatic correspondence – in the past, official correspondence from foreign countries was addressed to ” the President and Congress of the United States;” Jackson said all correspondence should be addressed to “the President of the United States of America.”
  • Jackson was the first President to use the veto liberally and as a political weapon.
  • The first assassination attempt against a President occurred when  Robert B. Randolph tried to kill Jackson.
  • Congress censured Andrew Jackson in 1834 for the removal of funds from the Second Bank of America.
  • Jackson was responsible for the displacement of many Indians – he disregarded earlier treaties.
  • Jackson’s wife, Rachel, was still married to her first husband when she married Jackson.
  • Since Andrew and Rachel couldn’t have any children, they adopted one of Rachel’s brother’s twins.

American Lion is a fascinating book – I would say the readability falls between a textbook and a novel.  I found myself taking notes, because this book is not a light read, but it is well worth the time it takes to read it.  Don’t let the size intimidate you – there are over 100 pages of notes, etc in the back.  One thing did disappoint me, though.  I thought our forefathers were more honorable than people are today and I was sorry to discover they weren’t.  Jackson’s term was marred by a sex scandal, the Presidential elections went on for too long, and there was plenty of political underhandedness going on.  It just goes to show you – the more things change, the more they stay the same.  History buffs are sure to love this thoroughly researched, well-written book.

Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek and the author of two other books.  He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autiobiography for American Lion.  Check out his appearance on The Colbert Report- it sparked my interest in reading this book.

Thanks to Random House, I have an extra copy of American Lion to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter this contest,  simply leave a comment on this post.  Contest is open worldwide.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EST, Sunday August 9, 2009.  Winner will be announced on Monday, August 10, 2009.


75 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2009 6:49 am

    I have decided that people living in all different times were scandalous, especially if they were in power. I have seen another review of this as well and it seems like a great read. Thanks for all the fun facts. Who knew that he was a bigamist (or his wife was anyway), among other things

  2. July 28, 2009 7:46 am

    Great review! I loved your “fascinating facts” list! (Don’t enter me though, we have this book.)

  3. July 28, 2009 8:18 am

    I would absolutely love to read this! I love biographies and this one won the Pulitzer. Hence, I wonder why it needs to be “pumped up”? Hey, I’m not complaining, I’d love a copy of it!

    rebecca (at) rebeccareid (dot) com.

  4. July 28, 2009 8:22 am

    Nice overview of this book. It is one I keep thinking of picking up and adding to the TBR pile, so would love to win a copy.

  5. July 28, 2009 8:28 am

    It all comes down to one basic component: We’re all human (we make mistakes), and absolute power corrupts absolutely!! Sounds like a fascinating read and one that I’ve thought of picking up! Great review Kathy!

  6. July 28, 2009 8:36 am

    I love learning that our Founding Fathers and early presidents were human and had character flaws. They could get away with more because they didn’t have instant news and Twitter.

  7. July 28, 2009 8:38 am

    Great review, Kathy. I’d like to be entered in the giveaway. meah56 at gmail dot com

    BTW, I think the lack of 24 hour news channels and the internet can be credited for many people not knowing about the flaws/weaknesses in our leaders of that time.

  8. July 28, 2009 8:39 am

    No need to enter me; my hubby is reviewing this one for me. He’s not really a reader, but he’s been talking non-stop about this book!

  9. July 28, 2009 8:42 am

    Great review Kathy. I agree with you – it does read like a novel. It was hard for me to put down. (Don’t enter me in the giveaway.)

  10. July 28, 2009 9:05 am

    corruption, bigamy, bank fraud…things never change, do they.
    sounds interesting!

  11. July 28, 2009 9:10 am

    Don’t enter me but I have to tell you that Booking Pap Pap is reading this book right now too. He agrees with you that it’s not an easy read.

  12. July 28, 2009 9:40 am

    I’ve been hearing really interesting this about this book–I guess there is a bit of controversy about Jackson’s policy that I was pretty unaware of. I didn’t realize that he was responsible for the displacement of so many Native Americans. Please enter me, Kathy!

  13. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 28, 2009 10:00 am

    Oh, I love Presidential politics! Please enter me.

  14. Jane permalink
    July 28, 2009 10:11 am

    I would love to be entered.

  15. July 28, 2009 10:34 am

    Great review. I saw this one earlier and thought about snagging it for review. I’m sorry I missed the boat on this one, but maybe I can win a copy.

    Yes, unfortunately, politics hasn’t changed much since the country was founded. Amazing what you can learn.

    Thanks for the giveaway and I will post it in my sidebar as always.

  16. July 28, 2009 10:55 am

    I’m starting to get more interested in American history as opposed to English history. I’d love to read this one.

  17. July 28, 2009 11:16 am

    Great review! Please enter me into this giveaway, and thanks for hosting it!

  18. July 28, 2009 11:28 am

    This has been on my TBR list FOREVER!

    PS, do you know how many things in Nashville are named after this guy? Old Hickory Blvd is a county-spanning street, Old Hickory is a neighborhood as well as a lake, the Hermitage (his house) exists in…yep, Hermitage (another neighborhood). This was my childhood.

    Enter me, please!

  19. Sue permalink
    July 28, 2009 12:00 pm

    This looks great. Thanks for the giveaway~
    smickelson1993 at yahoo dot com

  20. July 28, 2009 12:14 pm

    Sounds like such a great book. I keep seeing it around- Andrew Jackson’s picture always looks like John Kerry to me, which is why I’ve never picked it up!

  21. July 28, 2009 1:11 pm

    Don’t enter me for the giveaway. I just wanted to say thanks for a great review. The last biography I read was about Queen Victoria. I”d like to read another one soon and this one sounds interesting.

  22. July 28, 2009 1:34 pm

    Love the list of facts.
    Please enter me for this one.

  23. etirv permalink
    July 28, 2009 2:10 pm

    Thanks for your review! I would love to read American Lion!

  24. July 28, 2009 2:29 pm

    Nice review! Just posted this contest on Win A Book.

  25. July 28, 2009 2:39 pm

    I’d love to read this – Jon Meacham is such a good writer, and so reasonable on talk shows that I know the biography is sane and even-handed. Such a pity, but so true, that people just don’t change.

  26. July 28, 2009 2:43 pm

    I bought a copy of this for a co-worker friend of mine (a Social Studies teacher) and he seemed to enjoy it. I’ve always thought Jackson was a character, and I’m debating getting my own copy to learn more about him. The size of the novel was daunting, but if it’s as good as you say I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂

  27. July 28, 2009 3:42 pm

    Presidents are scandalous now, they were scandalous then. 🙂 Please enter me in the contest!

    Marian – mdperera at hotmail dot com

  28. July 28, 2009 4:40 pm

    I’d love to be entered — I’d share this one with my dad, too! We’re both fascinated by American history, and I love reading about the lives of presidents. Jackson is one I don’t know much about, though one of my college professors was completely obsessed with his politics. Guess I should have paid more attention, haha. Thanks for the chance!

  29. July 28, 2009 4:54 pm

    This looks interesting! Please enter me!

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  30. July 28, 2009 5:15 pm

    I wanted this one as soon as I saw it for the first time just recently. Please enter me in the giveaway!

  31. DarcyO permalink
    July 28, 2009 6:04 pm

    Loved your review. I’d love to read this one!

  32. July 28, 2009 6:25 pm

    This one sounds like an interesting read – I loved your list of facts. Some very interesting stuff in there!

  33. cenyasmom permalink
    July 28, 2009 6:43 pm

    An interesting review, I am a subscriber, please count me in.

  34. Carol M permalink
    July 28, 2009 6:51 pm

    I would love to read this and then pass it on to my grandchildren. Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 AT

  35. Lesley permalink
    July 28, 2009 7:00 pm

    Oh, please enter me; I love historical biographies! Thanks!

  36. Sharon Walling permalink
    July 28, 2009 7:07 pm

    I would love a chance to win this great book. I love reading biographies, autobiographies and memoirs.
    Thanks for the chance

  37. July 28, 2009 7:11 pm

    I would love to read this!

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  38. July 28, 2009 8:22 pm

    I’ve really been wanting to read this book. Not only do I have an interest in history, I am related to Andrew Jackson through my maternal grandmother. That makes this book particularly fascinating.

  39. Katrina permalink
    July 28, 2009 9:00 pm

    Loved the review and would love to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ykatrina at hotmail dot com

  40. July 28, 2009 10:26 pm

    Not the sort of book I’d read but I enjoyed your review and those interesting side points about the man. Even Jefferson, whom I personally admire (and I’m am not American), wasn’t perfectly honourable either.
    And thank you for your kind comment about my health. I meant a lot to me.

  41. Ron Roseborough permalink
    July 29, 2009 12:13 am

    I ‘m new to this blog, I would sure like a chance to receive a copy of American Lion.


  42. nfmgirl permalink
    July 29, 2009 8:36 am

    All politicians are at least a little corrupt. The “good” guys don’t last. Please count me in. Thanks!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  43. July 29, 2009 10:27 am

    You don’t have to enter me.

    Great review! I give you big props on reading this book because I would never have attempted it. Although now, I think you may have changed my mind. Good job 🙂

  44. July 29, 2009 11:19 am

    I’d love a copy of this one!

  45. July 29, 2009 12:28 pm

    What a Fab review. I have had my eye on this books for a while now. Have you heard of the one from Bloomsbury, “Half Moon”?
    I want this book 🙂
    Please enter me.
    MarieBurton2004 at yahoo dot com

  46. July 29, 2009 3:33 pm

    I really don’t read enough biographies, so please enter me in this giveaway. Maybe this is this little nudge I need! 🙂

  47. Scott permalink
    July 29, 2009 4:46 pm

    I found your blog when searching American Lion. I plan on adding this book to my “to read” list.

  48. July 29, 2009 5:58 pm

    I have been wanting to read this since it first came out in hardcover. As the student of an American History teacher, I’m something of a nerd for political, historical biographies and Jackson was such an interesting guy.

  49. July 29, 2009 8:57 pm

    I would love to win this book! I’ve been reading reviews on other blogs too, and people seem to really be enjoying it.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  50. July 29, 2009 9:21 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog. I really enjoyed your review and like your point about Jackson not really being morally “on the level”. That interests me quite a bit, and although I don’t read many historical books, it seems that this one would be very interesting to me. Please enter me in this contest, and I will be stopping by again!


  51. Wanda permalink
    July 29, 2009 10:54 pm

    I would love to win this book about Andrew Jackson! Please include my name in your draw. Thank you.

  52. Barbara permalink
    July 29, 2009 10:59 pm

    I have been waiting to read this book for a long time. Historical biographies of our presidents are one of my favorite genres for reading. Please include me in your giveaway for The Lion.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  53. July 30, 2009 12:15 am

    I almost bought this at the bookstore last week…I went with 1776 instead. But Borders has it prominently displayed and it keeps tempting me!

  54. Carol permalink
    July 30, 2009 12:27 pm

    I would love to be entered. Of course, I’d have to let my mom borrow it if I won.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

  55. July 30, 2009 2:15 pm

    Hmm, his wife was married to 2 guys at the same? Interesting…

    Please enter me!

  56. July 31, 2009 8:11 am

    I know nothing about Andrew Jackson, but those facts you included in your review were really interesting. Sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for the giveaway; I’ve added it to my sidebar.


  57. July 31, 2009 10:59 pm

    I’d love to be entered in your book giveaway. Thanks!

  58. August 1, 2009 11:27 am

    Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

  59. August 1, 2009 3:02 pm

    I have a copy so don’t enter me. I liked the fascinating facts. I want to read this so much.. but it is the Textbook to Novel thingy that has me holding off. It seems my mind is on summer break and wants to read other stuff.. and yet. .. I really want to read this.

  60. Debbie permalink
    August 1, 2009 5:35 pm

    Please include me in your giveaway.

  61. August 1, 2009 9:31 pm

    I’m reading through the presidents, and I’m about to read a biography of James Monroe. So Andy Jackson will be up for reading soon. I’d love to win a copy of this one.

  62. August 1, 2009 10:28 pm

    Please enter me in the contest.

  63. Allie permalink
    August 3, 2009 11:11 am

    Please enter me! I love anything to do with history. Thanks!

    bluebyrd24 at gmail dot com

  64. Strangelove permalink
    August 6, 2009 5:21 pm

    Do count me in.


    carlos_durao AT hotmail DOT com

  65. Edu Chico permalink
    August 7, 2009 8:21 am

    One more trying it’s luck.

  66. Jafantunes permalink
    August 7, 2009 8:47 am

    Looks like a goo read!

    o_rei_de_havana AT hotmail DOT com

  67. MariaD permalink
    August 7, 2009 9:10 am

    To learn something about American History would be great!
    There are so many figures that don’t reach the worldwide atention even if they were important.
    It tends to only come down to the most visible ones!
    So, thanks for this!

  68. Caty permalink
    August 7, 2009 10:42 am

    A different style from my usual readings, but still interesting.

  69. Susy permalink
    August 7, 2009 10:57 am

    Thanks for the link to the Colbert Report.
    Sure looks like a great reading!

  70. Jo Dias permalink
    August 7, 2009 11:10 am

    The author seems quite humorous and the situations as well!
    Great read I believe!

  71. August 8, 2009 1:21 am

    I’d love to enter. THANKS!

  72. Sara M permalink
    August 9, 2009 12:05 pm

    I’ve been looking to read this book for a while. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Thanks for the contest!

  73. emily l permalink
    August 9, 2009 8:22 pm

    I would love to read this. 🙂

  74. August 9, 2009 11:48 pm

    I can’t believe I hadn’t entered this one already! Throw my name in!


  75. August 14, 2009 11:16 pm

    Just visited Sewanee University of the South in Tennessee as part of my oldest’s college tour – they are quite proud of their alum, Jon Meacham. If I ever jumpstart my participation in the President’s challenge, I’ve got this one in mind!

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