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Jon Meacham biography

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Jon Meacham
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Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham Biography

Jon Meacham holds the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, where he is also a distinguished visiting professor and co-chairs the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & Democracy. A biographer and contributing editor at Time, he lectures widely in the United States on history, politics, and religious faith, and is the Canon Historian of Washington National Cathedral. In 2020, Meacham was a visiting lecturer at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he taught a course on the life and legacy of John Lewis.

He is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope; The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels; The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross; Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation (with Tim McGraw); Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush; Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power; American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation; Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. He is the editor of two volumes: Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement and In the Hands of the People, an anthology of Thomas Jefferson's writings. Meacham's book And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle was published in October 2022.

Meacham's American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2009; the book was cited as an "unlikely portrait of a not always admirable democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life."

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Society of American Historians, Meacham has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and Garden & Gun. Meacham is also a regular guest on "Morning Joe" and other broadcasts.

Meacham's biography of President Bush was named one of the ten best books of the year by the Washington Post and one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Time, National Public Radio, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Destiny and Power was also honored for excellence in "Politics and Leadership" in 2015 by the Plutarch Committee of BIO, the Biographers International Organization.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power received the 2013 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award from the Fraunces Tavern Museum and the Sons of the American Revolution in the State of New York, a prize that "recognizes books of exceptional merit written on the Revolutionary War era." Franklin and Winston was honored with the Colby Award of the William E. Colby Military Writers' Symposium at Norwich University. Meacham was also honored with the 2015 Nashville Public Library Literary Award; other winners include John Lewis, Robert K. Massie, Margaret Atwood, John McPhee, Billy Collins, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Irving, Ann Patchett, John Updike, David McCullough, and David Halberstam.

A former executive editor at Random House, he published the letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and books by, among others, Al Gore, John Danforth, Mary Soames, and Charles Peters. After serving as Managing Editor of Newsweek for eight years, Meacham was the Editor of the magazine from 2006 to 2010. He is a former editor of the Washington Monthly and began his career at the Chattanooga Times.

Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at St. Nicholas School, the McCallie School, and graduated in 1991 from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a degree summa cum laude in English Literature; he was salutatorian and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

He has served as a trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, whose board he chaired, of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, of the New-York Historical Society, of the McCallie School, and of the Harpeth Hall School. Meacham chaired the National Advisory Council of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. He has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and of Trinity Church Wall Street as well as the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents of the University of the South. The Anti-Defamation League awarded Meacham its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Prize. In 2013 the Historical Society of Pennsylvania presented him with its Founder's Award; in 2016 he was honored with the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute's Spirit of Democracy Award; in 2017 he was made a Churchill Fellow of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, in services at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. In 2021, the National Archives awarded Meacham its Records of Achievement Award; in 2022, he was honored, with Annette Gordon-Reed, with the Aspen Institute's Public Service Award. Meacham also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005 and holds honorary doctorates from Williams College, Middlebury College, Wake Forest University, the University of Tennessee, Dickinson College, Sewanee, Loyola New Orleans, Loyola Baltimore, Millsaps College, and several other institutions.

He lives in Nashville and in Sewanee with his wife and children.

Jon Meacham's website

This bio was last updated on 09/30/2022. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Books by this Author

Books by Jon Meacham at BookBrowse
And There Was Light jacket Thomas Jefferson jacket American Lion jacket Franklin and Winston jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Jon Meacham but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Joseph J. Ellis

    Joseph J. Ellis

    Joseph J. Ellis is one of the nation's leading scholars of American history. The author of nine books, Ellis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    American Lion

    Try:
    Founding Brothers
    by Joseph J. Ellis

  • David McCullough

    David McCullough

    David McCullough was acclaimed as a "master of the art of narrative history." He was the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    American Lion

    Try:
    John Adams
    by David McCullough

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