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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New Newsweek

In 2009 I had just became aware that Jon Meacham (the editor in chief of Newsweek magazine) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography. This was a small yet personal vindication for me. I'll explain why.
I thought the book American Lion was wonderfully written and particularly insightful about Andrew Jackson 's place in American History. Some months back, I had explained to a friend what a great book Meacham had written. This person immediately launched into an attack (without having read the book) upon the author for having anything good to say about this controversial president. I found myself defending and President
I also read some more criticism's of the author on the internet. I suspect those had more to do with Meachams connection to Newsweek magazine.
Here is what Newsweek Managing Director and Washington Post Co. Vice President Ann McDaniel, had to say: "It gives me great pleasure to announce that Jon Meacham has won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for biography for his best-selling book American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. The Pulitzer Board described Jon's book as "an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life." In addition, Jon has written two other bestsellers: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship & American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation". I particularly enjoyed his portrait of the friendship of the President and Prime Minister. Jon is in good company; previous winners in the biogrpahy category include Robert Caro, David McCullough, Arthur Schlesinger, John F. Kennedy and, Katharine Graham, whose family owned The Washington Post Company, NEWSWEEK's parent.
Newsweek was sold recently. Jon and many of the outstanding collection of writer and journalists have since left the magazine. It been downhill for the magazine ever since. Tina Brown, has taken over as editor. Her cover story shows an imagined Prince Di & Kate walking side by side. All I could think about the article was creepy. The drive to be cool, chic and trendy is now in vogue. I rate this demise of a once great magazine as the equivalent of "reality TV." How sad....


NCmountainwoman said...

After many years of continued subscriptions, I canceled "Newsweek" the day they announced that Karl Rove would be writing articles for them.

They still want me back and have offered as much as 90% discount. Nope. Fool me once...well, you know the rest.

Loree Huebner said...

That was a creepy cover!

I think you hit it on the head - the equivalent of "reality TV."

Very sad.

PC said...

The demise of Newsweek is a shame. I subscribed to it for many years, but dropped my subscription a few years ago as the magazine grew thinner and thinner, both literally and in terms of its content.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Ooh, that cover feature article on "Newsweek" is indeed creepy and disturbing. Thanks for the book promotion, because I may actually read it now even though I'm not too into historical narratives. If I remember correctly, Andrew Jackson was a favorite of my high school history professor.

Retired English Teacher said...

I agree with you. You truly did hit the nail on the head our comparison of Newsweek and reality TV.

I haven't read the biography of Jackson yet, but will have to do so. I remember reading a biography about him years ago, I might have been in college, and I was fascinated by the man. Thanks for your review.

Jane said...

I absolutely agree with you about Newsweek... not much difference between Newsweek and all of the tabloids.......


Randy said...

Meacham is a regular on MSNBC's "Morning Joe;" he is a smart guy with lots of insight into a variety of subjects, but especially American history.