3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's book about the Man, not the "era" ...,
This review is from: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (Hardcover)
"American Lion" is a biography about Jackson, the man.
It's not about the period of history known as the "Jacksonian Era" and that seems to be the issue with most reviewers who have found fault with Meacham's story.
There are plenty of other fine books covering the historical period known as "The Jacksonian Era" that focus much more heavily on the troublng issues and the other prominent figures of the day.
In "American Lion", Meacham wants to paint an intimate portrait of what made Jacskon tick and in this, I thought he did an admirable job.
The fact is that Jackson WAS tremendously troubled over the problems with Peggy Eaton and Washington society. It did indeed dominate his first two years in the White House. It didn't have to be an over-riding issue, but due to the psychological make-up of Jackson, the man, an issue that probably could have been brushed aside as irrelevant to national politics, became a confrontation over Presidential power and Jackson's ability to force his will on the situation.
Andrew Jackson was a complex individual and the time frame in which he was in office was a period that saw the beginning of great national unrest. How Jackson confronted the problems and issues of the day to a large extent, laid the ground work for the modern Presidency.
Jackson admirers and Jackson detractors should both gain something from reading "American Lion" ... not for the overall perspective of the entire era, but for the close look at what compelled Andrew Jackson to act and to react in the ways he did.
PS: For broader perspective, "The Jacksonian Era" by Glyndon G. Van Deusen (1959) is a excellent period overview.