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Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty (Jefferson and His Time, Vol. 3) Hardcover – January 30, 1962


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Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty (Jefferson and His Time, Vol. 3) + Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801-1805 (Jefferson and His Time, Vol. 4)
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Product Details

  • Series: Jefferson and His Time (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 545 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (January 30, 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316544752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316544757
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Not only has Mr. Malone mastered the vast body of Jefferson’s correspondence and the writings of his contemporaries, but he has fully explored the wealth of monographic material devoted to this epoch.... Throughout the book there is a sense of proportion and balance which might well be called classic.

(Harry Ammon Virginia Magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dumas Malone, 1892–1986, spent thirty-eight years researching and writing Jefferson and His Time. In 1975 he received the Pulitzer Prize in history for the first five volumes. From 1923 to 1929 he taught at the University of Virginia; he left there to join the Dictionary of American Biography, bringing that work to completion as editor-in-chief. Subsequently, he served for seven years as director of the Harvard University Press. After serving on the faculties of Yale and Columbia, Malone retired to the University of Virginia in 1959 as the Jefferson Foundation Professor of History, a position he held until his retirement in 1962. He remained at the university as biographer-in-residence and finished his Jefferson biography at the University of Virginia, where it was begun.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

One interesting thing about this book is that you get glimpses of Jefferson's dark side.
Leon M. Bodevin
Instead, Malone, with no substantiation, stunningly tries to spin it as if Jefferson was really a victim submitting to blackmail.
Brian Brockmeyer
The author should not filter information on the basis of convenience or lack of objectivity.
Cedar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leon M. Bodevin on January 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This volume continues to explore Jefferson's tenure as Secretary of State and his battles with Hamilton. What's interesting is the effect Hamilton's assaults had on Jefferson's reputation: by imbuing him with every quality from limitless guile to "great passion," Hamilton makes Jefferson into a colossus in the public eye. Jefferson was more passive than Hamilton thought. One interesting thing about this book is that you get glimpses of Jefferson's dark side. In one letter to Madison, Jefferson asks Madison to "cut [Hamilton] to pieces in the face of the public." Ouch.
Also, the story of Citizen Genet is pretty funny. Genet thought he could somehow go above the head of the Washington administration and appeal directly to the American people. Genet is quickly recalled by France.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Zilly on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is the third volume in Dumas Malone's six volume biography called "Jefferson and His Time" covering the period in Jefferson's life from the end of his tenure as Secretary of State under George Washington to his contentious election as President in early 1800/1801.

In this volume Mr. Malone seems to perfect his intended writing and presentation style resulting in the most consistently written volume yet in the series. The organization of chapters by topics, instead of a chronological narrative, is much more pronounced than in the second volume and each 10 to 20 page chapter usually covers at least two to three years of events (as part of a 500 page volume encompassing a mere eight years of Jefferson's life) with considerable chronological overlap from chapter to chapter. This seems appropriate enough for a scholarly, analysis based, biography but requires the reader's continued focus to reconstruct the correct timeline of events.

This volume is, overall, an enjoyable read and at moments gives the reader considerable insight into Jefferson's true character, a tough task for such an elusive subject. I must admit, however, at times Mr. Malone's lenghty analyses make parts of this work tough to traverse and I often wanted to skim ahead to the next topic. This seems to be a byproduct of the topic based chapters, with each chapter being a self contained research article on a particular topic of Jefferson's life. I fully concede that this is entirely appropriate for a biography of this depth and length, but at times I miss the narrative based biography that Mr. Malone began with in the first volume.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joe Zika TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty written by Dumas Malone is the third installment of six in the life and times of Thomas Jefferson and according to the author the most arduous to write. The time frame of this segment starts where the second volume left off and continues to the election of Thomas Jefferson to his first term as President of the United States, (1792 - 1801).
This volume is divided into four seperate sections of Jefferson's life in this series of years, but Jefferson as Secretary of State, has frustrations in Philadelphia and as we see most of them are Hamilton in origin. Begining the first segment we see Jefferson completing his secretaryship of state, the second deals with his early retirement to Monticello, third section deals with the growth of political parties and Jefferson's reluctance to be the head of the opposition to the Federalists, and the fourth segment deals with the basic individual freedoms of the people being seriously imperiled.
Even though the author stated than this was a difficult time to write about Thomas Jefferson, it is apparent, through the tone of this book that great care was given to portray Jefferson as he was in life... we even get to glimpse at a dark side of Jefferson as the heated frustration with Hamilton begins its culmination, as Jefferson relies on James Madison to do the "dirty work."
This is a fascinating and controversial time in Jefferson's life and the author tells the story well. The Giles Resolutions and the Citizen Genet stories were extremely well written.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Brockmeyer on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This third volume in Dumas Malone's six-volume biography of Jefferson is much like the first two - tedious, hagiographic, and severely diluted by minutiae - only even more so afflicted. Reading this book is, in short, an "ordeal" in itself with very little reward.

JEFFERSON & THE ORDEAL OF LIBERTY covers from the middle of 1792, when Jefferson was still serving as Washington's Secretary of State, up to the eve of his inauguration as president in 1801, detailing the final two years of his secretaryship, his short period of retirement at Monticello and the founding of the Democratic-Republican Party, his service as vice president under Adams, and his victory in the election of 1800. Spanning 525 small-type pages of dull, languid writing, eight-and-a-half years never moved so slowly.

With the Federalists ascendant, Jefferson and his republican politics were on the defensive during the entirety of the timeframe encompassed by the book. Consequently, the chronicle is one of ceaseless scheming, conflict, and feuding between Jefferson and his political opponents. Once again, Jefferson and his fellow Democratic-Republicans are singularly portrayed as virtuous and selfless in character and intent (including repeated and annoying hyperbolic references to TJ as a "sentinel of freedom" and "apostle of liberty and light"), while the Federalists' motives are universally held to be sinister, self-interested, and borne of an insatiable lust for power. It's almost comical in its two-dimensional outlook.

Malone completely blinds himself to Jefferson's faults, most notably his duplicity and frequent hypocrisy, and obstinately refuses to acknowledge the man ever did anything wrong in his public or personal life.
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