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History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson (Library of America Series) Hardcover – July 4, 1986

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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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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: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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2 Comments 11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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