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An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson: Dinner, Wine, and Conversation Hardcover – January 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


Gabler captures the friendship between Franklin and Jefferson and more ... Walter Isaacson, author of "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life." --Back cover of book.

"This is a marvelously enlightening book for both historians and wine enthusiasts." Wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. --Back cover of book.

From the Publisher

"An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson: Dinner, Wine and Conversation" will be published on January 17, 2006--the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth. The cover illustration is a reproduction of John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence,” and the back cover carries comments by Walter Isaacson, author of "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life," and wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. The Preface provides a quick overview of the book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Bacchus Press; 1St Edition edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961352566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961352561
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Gabler grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Washington & Lee University where he earned degrees in economics and the law. He served two years in the U.S. Army as a finance office. He practiced in the Maryland and D.C. courts as a civil trial lawyer for 40 years both for the defense and the plaintiff. By vote of his peers, he was listed in "The Best Lawyers in America." During his years in practice, he developed an interest in wine and wrote and published Wine into Words: A History and Bibliography of Wine Books in the English Language (1984), How To Be A Wine Expert (1987), Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson (1995), winner of the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Wine Book of the Year award, and How To Be A Wine Expert, 2nd edition (1995). Since retiring from the law Jim has written Wine into Words, 2nd edition (2004), An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson: Dinner, Wine, and Conversation (2006 and 2013) and Be Your Own Wine Expert (2011). In 2011 he wrote his first novel, God's Devil, about a priest whose consuming ambition is to become the first American Pope, and he lets nothing stand in his way. Jim has recently finished a second novel, The Secret Formula. It is about about the Coca-Cola secret formula and money beyond the wildest dreams. All of Jim's books are available in print editions. An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The Secret Formula, God's Devil, and Be Your Own Wine Expert are also available as Ebooks.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William R. Franklin VINE VOICE on January 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Published just in time to celebrate Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday, James Gabler has produced a cleverly crafted and engrossing story of an imaginary encounter with Dr. Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Journeying back in time through the vehicle of a vivid dream, the tale's narrator enjoys a sumptuous dinner in the company of Franklin and Jefferson in the latter's Paris residence as they discuss gastronomy, travel, politics and their public and private lives. Often the conversation is so intimate and reactions so plausible that the reader has the delicious feeling of eavesdropping on a very private affair.

The work's fictional aspects do not obscure Mr. Gabler's careful research into the life and times of our founding fathers. The long dinner conversation, with detailed exploration of topics ranging from the history of wine châteaux to affairs of state, is most educational. As the three men savour oysters with Meursault, pasta with Montrachet, roast beef with Haut Brion and Margaux, and pastry with Yquem, Franklin and Jefferson reflect on their adventures and promote their opinions in keeping with historical fact. Even when the conversation is at it's most speculative, such as reactions to the events surrounding 9/11, their responses are informative. Jefferson cites his own experience with Islamic terrorists in the guise of pirates from the Muslim Barbary states who were such a threat to early American shipping. Even the events at Abu Ghraib find an analogy in the documented poor treatment of British and German prisoners taken in the battle of Saratoga.

This is also a physically very attractive work with a beautiful dust cover and front plate and exquisite monochrome illustrations that contribute to its charm.

Enlightening and entertaining, this new book from Mr. Gabler will delight anyone interested in food and wine, history, politics, travel or just a good read. Heartily recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Garr on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
From "The 30 Second Wine Advisor" on, Jan. 27, 2006:

James M. Gabler's An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson: Dinner, Wine, and Conversation, is as much about history as it is food and wine. Gabler, a Jefferson scholar and wine lover who wrote the memorable 1989 wine-history book Jefferson and Wine, is back on familiar ground with the new volume, which came out just in time to celebrate Franklin's 300th birthday on Jan. 17.

In contrast with Gabler's readable but scholarly approach in Jefferson and Wine, this one starts from a premise that's a bit more light-hearted: The narrator, a college history professor, falls into a deep sleep and, in a dream, is whisked back to 18th century Paris, where he enjoys a leisurely dinner with Jefferson and Franklin (both of whom really were resident in Paris at the time, around 1784).

Prompted by questions by their visitor from modern America, Franklin and Jefferson both comment on issues of their time - and of our time - in their own words, actual quotes taken from their writings. Adding a dimension of food-and-wine interest, the narrative also goes into considerable detail about what's on the table and in the revelers' wine glasses, again drawing extensively on Jefferson's and Franklin's own words.

This can lead to some engaging juxtapositions, as when Jefferson sips 1783 vintage Champagne from the monks at Hautvillers while likening the modern Patriot Act to "the Alien and Sedition acts that the Federalist Congress passed and President John Adams signed in 1798.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. Wark on January 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every now and then you come across a book that you assume was written specifically for your eyes. It appeals to your past, your aspirations, your education, your occupation. That's how I felt about "An Evening with Benjamin Franklin & Thomas Jefferson: Dinner, Wine & Conversation" by James Gabler.

Many of you will be familiar with Gabler due to his last work, "Passions: The Wines & Travels of Thomas Jefferson," winner of the 1995 "Veuve Clicquot Wine Book of the Year" award. Now Gabler delivers a new work that once again has history as its focus but also spends a good deal of time focused on one of his own passions, wine.

The premise is simple: A historian is catapulted back in time via a dream and placed on the doorstep of Thomas Jefferson's home in Paris. There are no time travel mechanics, alternative histories or black holes to consider in the historian's travel back. You simply suspend disbelief because doing so gets you to the red meat of Gabler's book: The chance to talk to Jefferson and Franklin with the knowledge of what came after them.

Gabler's new book is remarkable on a number of levels. First, you have to understand that the title is an accurate reflection of the book's content. Yet, while the book is "fiction" it is also pure non-fiction all the way down to the more than 800 footnotes and the fact that much of what Franklin and Jefferson say to our historian are their own words, preserved in various letters and sources and faithfully reproduced in the appropriate conversations Gabler creates. But it is also a speculative book insofar as throughout Gabler has both Jefferson and Franklin reacting to news of what has transpired in the 200 or so years since they died. Still with me?
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