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History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson (Library of America Series) Hardcover


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History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson (Library of America Series) + History of the United States During the Administrations of James Madison (Library of America Series) + Democracy, Esther, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, The Education of Henry Adams
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 31)
  • Hardcover: 1308 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (July 4, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450349
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in 1838 into one of the oldest and most distinguished families in Boston, a family which had produced two American presidents, Henry Adams had the opportunity to pursue a wide-ranging variety of intellectual interests during the course of his life. Functioning both in the world of practical men and afffairs (as a journalist and an assistant to his father, who was an American diplomat in Washinton and London), and in the world of ideas (as a prolific writer, the editor of the prestigious North American Review, and a professor of medieval, european, and American history at Harvard), Adams was one of the few men of his era who attempted to understand art, thought, culture, and history as one complex force field of interacting energies. His two masterworks in this dazzling effort are Mont Saint Michel and Chartres and The Education of Henry Adams, published one after the other in 1904 and 1907. Taken together they may be read as Adams' spiritual autobiography—two monumental volumes in which he attempts to bring together into a vast synthesis all of his knowledge of politics, economics, psychology, science, philosophy, art, and literature in order to attempt to understand the individual's place in history and society. They constitute one of the greatest historical and philosophical meditations on the human condition in all of literature.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is the best history book I have ever read.
Ian Young
Although the length may scare some off, it is well worth the time and effort.
James P
Jefferson is among the most complex of the Founding Fathers.
G. Brozeit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James P on July 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In my mind, this is the best, most comprehensive, erudite and witty history of the administration of Jefferson. Although the length may scare some off, it is well worth the time and effort.
Adams spends a great deal of time examining foreign affairs. There are a few simple reasons for this. The wars between England, France and Spain had a direct and major impact on the growth of the US, and their conflicts were the conflicts of the US. Secondly, the federal government of the US, at the time, was devoted mostly to foreign affairs.
This is a political history. Do not look for descriptions on how the common people lived. Do not look for an inquiry into how women were treated, nor a disquisition on slavery. Do not expect much discussion on Sally Hemmings.
If however, you are looking for an in-depth analysis of a critical time in US history, a well-written, often funny book, read this book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael Green on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Adams' work here ranks with Macaulay and Carlyle in terms of telling an intricate history through the private letters and conversations of the players involved. From the first pages where he describes the America over which Jefferson presided, Adams clearly defines idealogies and principles as they were defended and practiced by the Federalists and Republicans of the day. Throughout Jefferson's two terms, the president was forced to abandon favorite principles and to defend others that were ulimately (if not immediately) untenable. Through skillful hands we watch how moods changed and policies switched, and how the main characters attempted to reconcile their inconsistencies. Jefferson hoped to expose the wrongfulness of Federalist policies, yet wound up forwarding the same tenets in his management. The President who rose to such a height of popularity and power left the office as disgraced and as generally disliked as any Chief Executive before or after. A masterful work about eight important and formative years in the early republic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David H. Eisenberg on October 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first volume of Adams' History of the United States, covering both Jefferson administrations, should be read by anyone with a deep interest in early American history. Adams' style might be deemed archaic, or perhaps even boring by some modern readers, but this history is so tightly packed with information, so compelling in its story line and so derivative of archival information, rather than secondary material, that it probably should be considered the first of all works on Jefferson. There is material in here you simply can not find in the works of other authors; even Dumas Malone.

While it is certainly arguable that Adams was fighting his ancestors' political battles in his work, his unprecedented scholarship in American history puts the burden of so arguing on the claimant. My own opinion is that Adams was merely fair and delved deep, and this approach is not always appreciated when dealing with our forefathers. Some would just rather not know.

Like other great works, right from the beginning, Adams will arouse your interest in not just Jefferson, but also other historical characters of whom you might not have even heard before.

Adams continued his history with the Madison Administration, which continued the unparalleled research and writing, and I equally recommend it with one caveat. Much of that second work, which is even longer, was naturally devoted to the War of 1812 and is quite descriptive when it comes to ships, troops and their movements. For example, he frequently gives detailed measurements of ships, even compares those about to do battle, and lists the troops in each battle, how many killed, wounded, etc. Much of this detail might bore many modern readers, but, some will find the depth of material refreshing and fulfilling.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though it was written in the 1880s, this is the best history of early American diplomacy yet written. It is important to mention that this is primarily a diplomatic history, and it certainly reflects the author's interest and family history in foreign affairs. Adams has meticulously researched all matters of State and diplomacy, but he has reserved the topics of culture, economics, and education for far more subjective analysis. It becomes obvious early in the text that Adams is highly deferential to Great Britain, and the young American republic is constantly compared and trivialized, in contrapuntal regularity, against the great European powers. Adams has a lot to say about America's poverty, provincialism, and anti-intellectualism when compared to England, France, and Russia. American culture cringe pervades the text. While frequently accurate, he drives the point to excess: America becomes somewhat of a play-thing for the imperial ambitions of Europe. We're treated to page after page of material on the British ambassadors. In short, this is probably the kind of American history we would have expected Henry James and T. S. Eliot to have read, the kind that gets all the facts and dates right but can't conceal the author's sincere desire to be English.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By gaston magrinat on November 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I usually do not like to review books which have been extensively reviewed, this one I will.

Adams did a wonderful job here, a better example of classical history is hard to find, well documented (even after almost 100 years), with a magnificent literary style, reading better than most action novels, it is an indispensable read to anyone that wants to learn the origins of this country.

It is hard to find negatives here, the only one that should be mentioned is the lack of info regarding some actors of the drama and some incidents that happened before the time of the period covered.

This is probably the fact that, at the time he wrote it, Adams was well aware of the level of knowledge and education of the people he wrote it for. Unfortunately, today, the general knowledge of American history of the majority of the population, leaves a lot to be desired, specially compared to his contemporaries.

Specific cases include, but are not limited too, the main cases of Chief Justice J. Marshall, the XYZ affair, etc. These are mentioned without an explanation, taking for granted the reader's knowledge of them.

With the relevant info just a click away, this should not be a problem.

If you love Americen history, If you are looking for material for a thesis, if you simply enjoy great adventure, this is the book for you.

I simply have not enjoyed an American History book as much as this in a long time.

Warning: If you start, you will be hooked and your social agenda will suffer, you just will not be able to put it down.

In here you will find answers to todays US problems, it is more current today than when it was originally published, a must read for all intelligent, articulate citizens.
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