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The Sage of Monticello (Jefferson & His Time (University of Virginia Press)) Paperback – May 4, 2006
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[W]ith splendid insight and artistry, Professor Dumas Malone has reconstructed the world through which Jefferson passed, and preserved and presented to us a complex and engaging Jefferson, in a masterpiece of humanistic scholarship.(National Endowment for the Humanities, The Chairman’s Citation, presented to Dumas Malone April 30, 1979)
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Top Customer Reviews
I reviewed the first 3 books as a whole under the third volume, and I'll do the same here on the final 3. I believed that the two hardest books to read were the volumes on Jefferson's presidency. Malone covered eight years in about 1,000 pages, and he went into such detail that it was actually hard to follow at times. By the time I finished reading about the Embargo Act, there was no way I could summarize it; he had written about it so much, and it was spread out throughout the volume. The same can be said, to some extent, with the Burr conspiracy.
The final book was better, even though he exhaustingly covered the establishment of the University of Virginia, probably more than necessary. I would have preferred more on the correspondence with John Adams. And while Malone gets into Jefferson's family relationships here, he was, as a writer, a better presenter of facts than he is a story teller. Nothing about this series is "narrative."
I would recommend the books to a very serious lover of history, and I suggest the audio book as a way of speeding up what will otherwise be a very slow read. But to one with casual interest in history who admires Jefferson, I'd suggest one of the many one-volume biographies.
As is true of the series as a whole, Malone is at his best when writing about Jefferson as a person, as his discussions of Jefferson's public life are often tedious and compromised by a blatant antipathy toward his subject's political opponents. THE SAGE OF MONTICELLO stands out as probably the best installment of the biography because the time frame it encompasses ensures it is primarily an exposition of the former rather than the latter, leaving Malone largely on the ground on which he is most adept. It is, nevertheless, a bit uneven.Read more ›
Mr. Malone truly saved the best for last in this series resulting in the best of the six volumes, quite an achievement considering he completed this volume when he was 89 years old. This volume successfuly covers in thorough detail the most important parts of Jefferson's late life including the founding of the University of Virginia, his friendship with John Adams, his thoughts on the political issues after his presidency, and his personal and family life including his increasingly difficult situation regarding his debts. While maintaining the scholarly level of detail in the previous volumes, Malone's writing style is his most enjoyable yet.
In conclusion, this volume has my highest recommendation and is perfectly suited to be read as a stand alone volume, even without reading the the rest of the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Despite his clear sympathy for the late 'sage', Dumas Malone did a better job on this book, when compared to his efforts on "Jefferson and the Rights of Man". Read morePublished on January 28, 2003 by reviewer