An American publisher, editor, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, he served as executive editor of Random House. He is best known for his 2008 biography, American Lion:
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. During the late 1980s, he became managing editor of Newsweek magazine.
He worked as a television political commentator and also co-hosted the short-lived PBS news program, Need to Know.
He lived with his grandfather, the renowned Chattanooga, Tennessee judge, Ellis K. Meacham, during his teenage years. He later married Margaret Keith Smythe Meacham; together, they had three children.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion, his 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson.