An exceptionally well produced view into not only what Jefferson did, but more importantly why. The complexities of his human flaws and shortcomings is sufficiently presented along with his still remarkable achievements.
Having recently read Hamilton's biography, I wanted to read Jefferson's to get the other side of the story. This portrait provides an excellent glimpse and greater understanding of the character of this brilliant yet complex man.
If you would like to hear about Thomas Jefferson's opinions and observations about the happenings of his life without an ounce of context, this book is for you. The book basically amounts to a recitation of letters to, from, or about Mr. Jefferson and little else. The history happening in the background is either painted with extremely broad strokes or ignored all together. You learn nothing about the man, apart from his writing style and his thoughts on very vague ideas apparently unrelated to any of the immense happenings of the revolution or the formation and practice of a Democratic Republic. Just a ridiculous waste of time masquerading as history.
A must-read if you're into early American history, although Meacham is overly infatuated with his subject. Some chapters would lead you to think Jefferson was the second coming, with his many, and well-known faults and missteps seriously under reported or glossed over. Although exceptionally accurate from a historical perspective, Meacham's glowing treatment of Jefferson makes him hard to get to know as man.
Although a very long investment of time is necessary, the book is richly rewarding. It gives the listener a broad perspective not only of Jefferson's life and the early underpinnings of the American experience, but also places into context the tensions we all feel in contemporary politics and society. As a recent visitor to Monticello before listening to this book, it also made the place come alive in my memory. Mr. Meacham' writing and Mr. Hermann' narration are sublime.
I always wonder if this is a trick question and I'm just not getting the point. Is there any other answer but YES?
Edward Herrmann is one of the preeminent narrators in the business. I never tire of listening to the books he narrates. Jon Meacham should stick to writing.
The portrait painted here of Jefferson displays his frustrating personality. Immensely talented and brilliant, but also underhanded and deceptive.
I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as other presidential biographies due to the author's glossing-over of Jefferson's flaws as a man and a politician. I would have appreciated a more honest and unbiased appraisal of this particular founding father.
This biography covers his life in broad strokes. If you're looking for extreme depth and detail in the vein of unique anecdotes or fresh perspectives on his public and private life, this is not the bio for you. After listening to the incredible Andrew Jackson biography by H.W. Brands I was a little disappointed in this telling.