Jon Meacham

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Person.png Jon Meacham  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(historian, editor)
Jon meacham 2014.jpg
BornMay 20, 1969
May 20, 1969
Alma materThe McCallie School, University of the South
Member ofCouncil on Foreign Relations/Members 2, The American Academy in Berlin/Distinguished Visitors, WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/2000
WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/2000. Corporate journalist and editor. Official (i.e. court) biographer of George H. W. Bush.

Employment.png Editor-in-chief

In office
2006 - 2010

Employment.png Managing editor

In office
1998 - 2006

Jon Ellis Meacham is an American writer, historian and official biographer of President George H. W. Bush. A former executive editor and executive vice president at Random House, he is a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, a contributing editor to Time magazine, and a former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. In his books and articles, Meacham shows a very cozy relationship to the people in power.

He was selected a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2000 by the World Economic Forum. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations


He is the author of several books. He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

Selected by the Bush family to be the official biographer for George H. W. Bush, Meacham's book, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, was published in 2015. He gave eulogies for both President Bush and Barbara Bush when they died in 2018.[1] FAIR, in the article Why Jon Meacham Earns the Big Bucks, describes his role as: "Sometimes it feels like his real role is to act as a Bush family publicist...It’s not clear that the Bushes are actually enjoying a shift in the public perception of their administrations, but they can always bask in the glow of the unwavering flattery of journalists like Jon Meacham."[2]

Describing the George W. Bush presidency (2000-2008), Meacham prefers incompetence over intention as an explanation for things: "Going only a bit further back in the decade, the occupation of Iraq and the response to Katrina seem to mark the beginning of an era in which apparently competent institutions have all too often proved incompetent."[3]

In 2009 he wrote an article advocating for a Dick Cheney presidential campaign in 2012[4] He also cheered on the idea of a Jeb Bush presidential run.[5]

Meacham was asked to speak at the 2020 Democratic National Convention on the Soul of America.

He has been described as Joe Biden’s “historical muse”, an occasional informal adviser to the US president and contributor to some of his major speeches including the inaugural address. “I suspect 90% of what I’ve heard Joe Biden say in private for years, he says in public, and the other 10%, it’s not like there’s some secret dark side of Biden,” Meacham says. “I’m puzzled by it, honestly...My experience with him – and we are friends – is that he’s very straightforward. There’s not a lot of machiavellian behind-the-scenes stuff going on. That might not have been true when he was 40 but he’s now almost 80 and it is true"[6] The attitude that there is nothing hidden promises well for him getting the task of writing a future official biography.

From 2021, he works as Canon Historian of the Washington National Cathedral.


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