Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.
Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense.
In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Hitchens is one of the best writers of the 21st century.
He tells the truth about Jefferson and our founding fathers, all of whom were wealthy... Read more
Typical incisive Hitchens, but marred by his anti-religious obsessions and biases, along with some strange lapses (mis-defining "entail"; mis-using "usufruct"; and... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Adam Wayne
Great narative, great read. In the age of misinterpreted history, it's relatively embarrassing for a Christian to make false claims about a man's opinion of religion when it's... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Caleb
This was a refreshing take on Jefferson with a lot of context that really helped create a 3D character. Read morePublished 4 months ago by DakotaJSilver
I love this book . I love thomas jefferson sometimes, & i love christoper hutchins all the time. He write so well, but you will need a dictionary close by.Published 4 months ago by gail Boshell
Very good book. Gives a slightly different viewpoint of Jefferson from a former Englishman. Would recommend it to Jeffersonians. MJPublished 4 months ago by Mark Jackson
As a history I found it very informative and helpful in understanding how our nation was formed. Had to labor through some of the pages and re-read certain areas as hard to grasp... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Evelyn D. Wright
Very readable in the KINDLE FORMAT. A Paragraph at-a-time on screen, the type is a very readable size, a new experience for me. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Crockett