Title: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

Author: Jon Meacham

Pages: 512

Release Date: April 30, 2009 –  Random House Trade Paperbacks

ISBN:  978-0812973464

Jon Meacham’s American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House is a biography of Andrew Jackson that concentrates on his time in the White House while giving some coverage to the time before and after.  Meacham concentrates on the personal relationships between Jackson, his advisors, and his cabinet.  These relationships played a surprising role in determining public policy.

Many of the features of the presidency that we take for granted had their start with Jackson.  He believed the power of the Presidency should be expanded at the expense of the legislative branch. While the details have changed this seems to be an ongoing effort that continues today. The more I read about America’s early days, the more I find they were very similar to today.

I did have one issue with the book, the footnotes.  I am a big believer in footnotes and have a hard time reading non-fiction without them.  I did not like the way Meacham’s notes were done.  The actual notes were at the end of the book and were used primarily for direct quotation.  The reader is forced to determine which of several quotations they are looking for, as the only reference is the page number, with several notes for each page.  There was nothing in the text to indicate there was a note for it.

Overall, I enjoyed reading American Lion and would recommend it to anyone interested in American history between the Revolution and the Civil War.  It may not be for those with more intimate knowledge of the period, but for the rest of us it serves as a good introduction to both Andrew Jackson and the people around him.

I received a review copy of this book from the Library Thing Early Reviewer program.