Meacham, Jon 1969-
Meacham, Jon 1969-
Born 1969, in Chattanooga, TN; married: wife's name Keith (an educator); children: two. Education: University of the South, graduated (summa cum laude), 1969.
Journalist and writer. Chattanooga Times, Chattanooga, TN, journalist, 1991-92; Washington Monthly, Washington, DC, journalist, 1992-95; Newsweek, New York, NY, writer and national affairs editor, 1995-98, managing editor, 1998-2006, editor, 2006—. Member, U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.
National Magazine Award for General Excellence, 2001, for Newsweek; named World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow.
(Editor) Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.
American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributing editor to Washington Monthly; contributor to periodicals, including New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, and Smithsonian.
Jon Meacham was just turning thirty in 1999 when he was named a managing editor at Newsweek. As editor of Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, Meacham uses his gift for seeing the whole story to gather together what Edward G. McCormack called in the Library Journal "a solid collection of acclaimed ‘voices’ narrating the environment, origin, and progress of the Civil Rights movement." The book includes essays and book excerpts focusing on writers' personal experiences with race issues during the 1950s and 1960s and includes such acclaimed authors as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner. "Since Meacham is a journalist … he includes the works of his personal heroes—older journalists with a keen eye for the characters, ironies, and the outright deceptions of race relations in American life," wrote Juan Williams in the Washington Monthly. Williams called Voices in Our Blood the "perfect antidote to any childish version of civil rights history" and noted: "Acting as a maestro for an orchestra of gifted writers, Meacham succeeds at transporting the reader to the confused heart of American race relations, down to the core of the misunderstandings, the invitations to hate and the violence." Ann Burns and Emily Joy Jones, writing in the Library Journal, commented that "this diverse collection illuminates the history of that decade." Black Issues Book Review contributor Glenn Townes noted that "Meacham #x2026; is to be commended for launching and editing such an absorbing and stellar tribute to our struggle."
Meacham focuses on another important time in history with his book Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. In his own words this time, Meacham delves into one of the most important relationships in the twentieth century as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill formed a strong political alliance during World War II. On his Internet Home Page, Meacham described the book as "the first full-scale biography of the emotional connection between Roosevelt and Churchill." Meacham traces the evolution of this "connection" from the pair's first meeting at a banquet in London in 1918 to Roosevelt's death in 1945. Over the course of their correspondence during the war, the two wrote approximately two thousand letters to each other, with Roosevelt composing his final letter the eve before his death. In addition to letters between the two, Meacham's sources included new collections of papers, such as the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman and unpublished letters of Roosevelt's secret love. Meacham also interviewed several people who worked with the world leaders and helped shed light on their complex relationship, which included intense mutual respect and affection as well as the intrigues and deceptions inherent on a world stage.
Writing in Campaigns & Elections, Ron Faucheux called Franklin and Winston "a book about leadership at a time when leadership mattered most" and also noted that the book "is a joy to read." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented: "All in all, he does a wonderful job of capturing not only the friendship between the two men, but also the tensions that build as the world turns to war." Writing in Time, Lance Morrow called the book "a close-focus historical tracking shot of the two men, very human, heroic and imperfect, moving along through—and making—great history." New York Times Book Review contributor David Walton maintained that Franklin and Winston is "written with grace and conviction."
In his next book, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, Meacham examines America's history in relation to Americans' views on God and religion, especially as these views relate to politics and government. The author chronicles the differences and early theological battles between various religions in the United States, such as the Quakers and the Anglicans. He also examines the conundrum of slavery and presents his case that religion within the newly formed United States was sectarian in nature and not ecumenical (that is, interested in fostering unity among different religions). Writing in America, R. Bentley Anderson commented that the author "challenges the common notion of the role religion has played in the history of the nation, specifically by those promoting a particular interpretation of our religious history for social and political purposes."
Commenting on the Washingtonpost.com Web site about why he decided to write the book, the author noted: "It was one day … when in a single edition of the New York Times a Nobel laureate in science was quoted … saying one could not be a believer and be a scientist and, deeper in the paper, Pat Robertson was reported to have called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez—hardly the most Christian of utterances. My sense … is that most Americans are far more moderate than either of those two extremes, and that the great good news about the country … is that religion shapes the life of the nation without controlling it or strangling it."
In a review of American Gospel in First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, Michael Novak commented that he thought the book is "surprisingly congenial, thoughtful, and informative." William F. Buckley, Jr., writing in the National Review, noted that "Mr. Meacham's invaluable book serves as a lodestar for original thought on—the American gospel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, July 3, 2006, R. Bentley Anderson, "Faith and Freedom," includes review of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, p. 22.
American History, April 1, 2007, "In Good Faith and Good Will," p. 32.
Black Issues Book Review, March, 2001, Glenn Townes, review of Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, p. 65.
Booklist, December 15, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of Voices in Our Blood, p. 783; September 15, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, p. 198.
Books, May 7, 2006, Wesley A. Kort, review of American Gospel, p. 8.
Book World, May 7, 2006, "The Enlightened Republic," p. 8.
Campaigns & Elections, February, 2004, Ron Faucheux, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 50.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October 1, 2006, Michael Novak, "Running into a Wall," includes review of American Gospel, p. 44.
Good Housekeeping, July 1, 2006, Ellen Levine, "One Nation under God," p. 10.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 1060.
Kliatt, March, 2003, Claire Rosser, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 41.
Library Journal, November 1, 2000, Ann Burns and Emily Joy Jones, review of Voices in Our Blood, p. 103; January 1, 2001, Edward G. McCormack, review of Voices in Our Blood, p. 132; September 15, 2003, William D. Pederson, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 69; May 1, 2006, George Westerlund, review of American Gospel, p. 92.
Mediaweek, September 4, 2006, "Meacham to Edit Newsweek," p. 3.
National Review, June 5, 2006, William F. Buckley, Jr., "The Last Word," review of American Gospel, p. 52.
Newsweek, October 20, 2003, Jon Meacham, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 62.
New York Times Book Review, January 4, 2004, David Walton, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 16; May 7, 2006, Alan Wolfe, "Keeping the Faith at Arm's Length," review of American Gospel, p. 26.
Publishers Weekly, August 4, 2003, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 68.
Time, December 22, 2003, Lance Morrow, review of Franklin and Winston, p. 128.
Washington Monthly, January, 2001, Juan Williams, review of Voices in Our Blood, p. 50.
Baylor University Web site,http://www.baylor.edu/ (September 28, 2004), "Jon Meacham."
Jon Meacham Home Page,http://www.jonmeacham.com (July 7, 2007).
Royce Carlton Web site,http://www.roycecarlton.com/ (September 28, 2004), "Jon Meacham."
Washingtonpost.com,http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (May 18, 2006), "Books: ‘American Gospel’" (interview with author).