Friday, January 2, 2009

Bad read

I picked up Jon Meacham's "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House" over Christmas and put it down about half-way through, something I very rarely do. It's just not a well-written book and frankly I think Jackson's presidency is actually the least interesting portion of his life. Much of the history of Jackson's time in the White House deals with trivial Washington society issues that plagued the early Jackson cabinet. I just can't seem to get interested in the story, even understanding that the trivial social issues led Jackson to replace much of his cabinet. Ditto for the battle over the Bank of the United States. I understand why its important but I've yet to read anyone who makes the issue even slightly interesting to read.

H.W. Brands book "Jackson: His Life and Times" is a significantly better historical work and I would suggest Sean Wilentz's "The Rise of American Democracy" as well, though it doesn't focus exclusively on Jackson and is plagued by the subpar subject matter.

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