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  • American Lion

  • Andrew Jackson in the White House
  • Written by: Jon Meacham
  • Narrated by: John H. Mayer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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American Lion

Written by: Jon Meacham
Narrated by: John H. Mayer
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Publisher's Summary

Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency.

Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson's election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad.

One of our most significant yet dimly recalled presidents, Jackson was a battle-hardened warrior, the founder of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the presidency as we know it. His story is one of violence, sex, courage, and tragedy.

With his powerful persona, his evident bravery, and his mystical connection to the people, Jackson moved the White House from the periphery of government to the center of national action, articulating a vision of change that challenged entrenched interests to heed the popular will or face his formidable wrath. The greatest of the presidents who have followed Jackson in the White House have found inspiration in his example, and virtue in his vision.

Jackson was the most contradictory of men. The architect of the removal of Indians from their native lands, he was warmly sentimental and risked everything to give more power to ordinary citizens. He was, in short, a lot like his country: alternately kind and vicious, brilliant and blind; and a man who fought a lifelong war to keep the republic safe, no matter what it took.

Jon Meacham, in American Lion, has delivered the definitive human portrait of a pivotal president who forever changed the American presidency and America itself.

©2008 Random House Audio; 2008 Jon Meacham

What the critics say

A master storyteller, Meacham interweaves the lives of Jackson and the members of his inner circle to create a highly original book." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
"American Lion is a spellbinding, brilliant and irresistible journey into the heart of Andrew Jackson and his unforgettable circle of friends and enemies." (Michael Beschloss)
"What passes for political drama today pales in the reading of Jon Meacham's vividly told story of our seventh president....Reading "American Lion" one is no longer able to look on the gaunt, craggy face on the $20 bill without hearing the tumult of America in the making." (Tina Brown)

What listeners say about American Lion

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Morten
  • 2009-01-07

disappointing

I think the only other biography I've read with higher praise for its main character is the New Testament. The Indians perform "brutal massacres on the settlers", whereas Jackson wins a glorious victory over the Indians, all Jackson's political opponents are conniving and greedy whereas Jackson himself is as good as the day is long and so on. The author's infatuation with Jackson blurs the historical details to such an extent that it's difficult to know what the true facts are.
Jackson might have been a great man, but I would have preferred to make up my own mind.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 2010-01-04

Excellent, if you are interested...

Jon Meacham is a master narrative historian who has proven time and again that he can tell a story with depth and make it accessible to a broad public. He continues this in American Lion, where he writes about one of the more colorful personalities who resided in the White House. I give this four stars only because the subject matter can sound dry at parts, and I think that it is purely subjective if others would agree with me. I personally was not looking for as much background information on the era, a time which I do not find terribly interesting. I was looking for a personal look at the man himself, which I certainly got. This is highly recommended for anyone interested in American history, and with the proviso that it may help to be interested in the time period, I believe this is a book any lover of history would enjoy.

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4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dog Lover
  • 2012-03-03

Couldn't handle the melodrama or the narrator

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

no - abridgement was choppy and made it difficult to pause restart.

Would you be willing to try another book from Jon Meacham? Why or why not?

I'll give him one more shot but if that style is also melodramatic in presentation, it will be my last attempt with a Meacham book.

Would you be willing to try another one of John H. Mayer’s performances?

Never. His mimicry was embarrassing. He performed. He didn't read.

Was American Lion worth the listening time?

No - I'll reserve my comments on the book itself once I've completed the printed version

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue B.
  • 2023-01-14

Man of his age.

Love him or hate him, he loved and protected the union over all else even his own kind.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carolyn
  • 2022-06-18

Spectacular story about the unlikely rise of an American President.

A very interesting read on a polarizing figure in by American politics. Overcoming obstacles is just the beginning. A must read for anyone interested in how we got to today.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 2018-08-04

A True Lion

Well researched and written. A remarkable account of a significant and major player in the struggle to keep the States United. Jackson was a leader by action and idea, defining the role of POTUS in the infancy of the USA, and demonstrating through thoughts and deeds the importance of a Executive branch that transcends politics and stands up for every American citizen.

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1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cynthia
  • 2017-06-25

Good but not great

The author skipped over many important details about Jackson's life and contributions yet spent a bit too much time on intra family personal drama. Liked the boom regardless and learned quite a bit.

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  • Don
  • 2015-09-04

Nullificatio

This book is a great read. It prompted me to read The Nullification Proclamation. Now it is time to reassert the Proclamation as it applies to individuals. Those who do not accept the Supreme Court decisions can protest, object, organize and vote. But should not think the laws can be disregarded.
Don B.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula Cox
  • 2011-04-18

dissapointing

I felt as though he spent so much time glorifying him I never felt as though I got to know Jackson as a person. He doesn't seem to have a good flow and jumps around a lot. I am very dissatisfied with this book. I just do not care for this style of righting .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2023-05-06

Now you know why he’s on the $20

While I always thought I paid attention in history class and read American history, this period was always a bit lacking as it didn’t have the thrill of the revolution nor the drama for the immediate lead up to the Civil War and its consequences.

It seems that everyone wants to bash Jackson for the Indian Removal, fair enough. But that simplifies things…. Any president in that same situation would have done the same. Had they not, the Union wouldn’t have existed much longer as the Indians would have been continually stirred up by English, Spanish, and perhaps even the French.

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