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on 8 April 2009
Andrew Jackson was the 7th American President. He won the popular vote for President in 1824, 1828 and 1832, but only ended up getting the position in 1828 and 1832. This book looks at his presidential experience. It's important because during his presidency he created the first real political party (that we might recognise today) and was the president who pretty much forced the US into a structure we have today, with a strong executive president that leads the country and expects the states to fall in behind him.

The big issue I have with the book is that I'm not altogether sure I liked the guy. He effectively re-defined the presidency, and to do that you have to have a very clear vision and the stubbornness to see it through. The thing is, while he was a populist, and I can see why Americans like him, he (to me at least) epitomises all that I find wrong about America. He pushed through a number of reforms that created greater political involvement in the population, but at a cost that ensured that future presidents only mirror popular sentiment, rather than trying to lead it.

If you want to understand the American presidency, you really need to read this book, but if you do, expect to be as infuriated as you are educated.
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on 23 November 2008
I would highly recommend this book to everyone. I looked forward to the release of this book with great anticipation and began reading it as soon as I received my copy. This book gives great detail about Jackson's ancestry and early life of hardship; including the loss of everyone close to him. Meacham does a wonderful job telling the story of how Jackson improved himself by studying law, his rough journey west to Tennessee, his difficulties of life on the frontier in the late 18th and early 19th century, his military career, and of course his presidency, which was pivotal in American history and helped define a new age of American politics. The section on Jackson's post-Presidential years seemed to be glossed over a bit, probably for the purpose of keeping the book under 600 pages, but nonetheless was very good.

For a book of philosophy I would highly recommend Understanding: Train of Thought.
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on 31 March 2015
Well written but could probably do with a bit more background from outside the White House.
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on 19 July 2015
Interesting book about a very interesting man!
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on 6 March 2015
Go go Alabama!
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