In my mind, Andrew Jackson was not a highly instrumental United States President when I started reading this biography, but by the time I finished I had a different opinion. Jon Meacham, like David McCullough writes non-fiction biographies as if they are fiction. He tells a story through the facts and details rather than just listing them. His transitions are well placed and he introduces additional characters or background in a manor that is supportive rather than obtrusive. While reading, I felt that I was along for the ride of Andrew Jackson’s presidency rather than reading about the days long in the past.
Andrew Jackson was a man on a mission. He tackled each thing he wanted to do or thought to be right with passion and importance. He was not one to back down on a statement or a goal which made him hated by many and loved by some. He spent his years in the White House without immediate family and instead surrounded himself with friends that became his family. His love of children was evidence of a deep and kind heart.
Even more than his personality, I finished this book with a deeper understanding of how the United States came to be. His passion landed on the task of removing the Native Americans from the settled United States and thus he made it his mission to have them removed. A process to which I knew was brutal; this book provided a deeper understanding of the political landscape surrounding this decision. In addition, I discovered more in the details and judgments made by people and politician’s alike against the Native Americans. Yet, there were those that saw the forced move as barbaric treatment of those individuals who lived on the land long before it was settled by Puritans. It brought questions to my mind about how we celebrate Thanksgiving and the images taught to children of Native Americans and Americans all sitting down to eat a large meal together.