12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Remarkable Man, Great Bio,
This review is from: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (Hardcover)
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There's a lot more to Thomas Jefferson than you learned in high school. Not just a great man, but a big man, physically powerful, charismatic, engaging, conversational, entertaining, curious, constantly reading, a free-thinker, a scientist, a master politician, a farmer, a horticulturist, a ladies' man, a man who spoke several languages fluently, a man of huge appetites. Interestingly, he was not a great orator, as his voice did not carry well. He did most of his persuading one-to-one or in small groups, or writing. Not a perfect man, either. A slave-owner who opposed slavery, but weakly, and only in theory. A man who kept a slave mistress, who bore him several children.
Thomas Jefferson played many roles in the founding generation of American leaders--governor of Virginia, secretary of state, vice-president, and president. Later he was a founder of the University of Virginia. He was a tireless advocate of liberty, of freedom from all arbitrary authority, from religious fanaticism.
Author Jon Meacham has written a fascinating, readable, and entertaining bio, that brings this remarkable man to life. It is well-written, and while it is packed with scholarly detail, the style is popular rather than scholarly. He brings Jefferson and his times to life. And what times! Constant turmoil, conflict, divisions, hatred and controversy. No, discussions were not more civil in Jefferson's time. Imagine that. If the book has any flaw, it is that Meacham sometimes editorializes where he could have just presented the material. Still, if you have any interest in American history, you will love this book, and I recommend it highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
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Initial post: Dec 23, 2012 11:24:14 AM PST
One correction for this review-Thomas Jefferson was THE founder of the University of Virginia. There were no others. He did it himself. Even though The University is now a public state institution, somewhat funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the state did not contribute any funding to the founding of The University.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 1:51:22 PM PST
Louis N. Gruber says:
Thanks for the comment.
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