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Jefferson's Monticello Paperback – August 1, 1988

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; Reissue edition (August 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896599507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896599505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 9.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"In its design, history, symbolism and metaphor, Monticello is the quintessential example of the autobiographical house" (2). Not only did the house remain in a state of architectural momentum for forty years, but it also was the site of its master's involvement in governmental structure. Thomas Jefferson was the architect of his mansion and the key builder of his country.

When young Thomas decided to study at William and Mary, he focused on classical studies and mathematics, while independently trying to put together an architectural foundation. Architecture as a profession did not exist in the colonies of his day.

Thus, Monticello became a dwelling in flux and a site to try out new ideas as he learned them. Herculaneum and Pompeii had been discovered in 1738 and 1740, respectively. These preserved ruins became the basis for the dignity, majesty, beauty, and facade of permanence of the buildings of a new country. Again, Thomas Jefferson was the architect of ideas and substantiating them.

I bought this book years ago and used it when I taught the Declaration of Independence in high school American literature. I wanted to show students the man behind the words. Monticello was great evidence of a man of the Enlightenment--rational thinking, classical studies, science as the basis for philosophy, Deism as religion. The Great Watchmaker creates the world and leaves man to run it. When various people say that our Founding Fathers built this country on religion, I try to tell them that they must mean the Settling Father--the Pilgrims and Puritans, who did establish their settlements on the basis of a New World free from religious tyranny. (The witch hunts are certainly an example of that.) The true founders were inevitably Deists in a time of Enlightenment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great photos of the house and grounds. Very interesting history of every aspect of Jefferson's Monticello - and family. Rare photos of the estate after Jefferson's death, along with the account of how it left the Jefferson family and how it came to be the wonderful piece of history open to the American public that it is. (Also, contains architectural drawings - but that wasn't my personal interest.) Great book.
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Format: Paperback
I have been to many historic homes and estates, and none show the true genius of their owner better than Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s Monticello by William Howard Adams is a beautiful, detailed and informative book about the unique home of our third president. Every aspect of Monticello (Italian for little mountain) was planned and supervised by Jefferson.

A self-taught architect, Jefferson studied the works of the great classic architects including Andrea Palladio. The building of the house at Monticello went through two phases. The first was a much smaller building. Upon returning from his time as minister to France, Jefferson went about completely changing and enlarging the original building. Almost every aspect of Monticello carries Jefferson’s personal stamp including the architectural renderings, gardens, cornices, goblets, a coffee urn, columns, furniture, outbuildings, parquet floors, railings, curtains, stairways, etc. Jefferson had unusual ideas for the 18th Century including small stairways built into closets, beds stashed in alcoves, and a wine dumbwaiter that went from the dining room to the wine center. Adams provides many photos and drawings of all these things, and more.

Jefferson’s Monticello is broken down into chapters on the Architect, the First Monticello, the Second Monticello, the Landscape, Interior Life, and an Epilogue. The Epilogue contains the story of what happened to Monticello between Jefferson’s death and the purchase of Monticello by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1923. The story of Uriah and Jefferson Madison Levy, a Jewish navy man and his nephew, is especially fascinating. The two helped save Monticello from probable ruin and actually owned the house much longer than the Jefferson family (89 years).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a paper I had to write on Monticello for a college course. It is very thorough and chock fuill of all sorts of information, even more than I could fit into my 10 page paper. Lovely photographs and maps. It covers the house and the surrounding land and outbuildings, which is useful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Important book, was there today.
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