The story doesn't progress chronologically, and there is a definite deficit of quotes from Thomas Jefferson in the book. It feels like the author is grafting on a set of Machiavellian motives onto every action that Jefferson took- and while as a politician he was no doubt calculating- the portrayal here seems very flat. I actually feel like I got a better feel for his character from the Jon Adams Biography and from the James Madison Biography than from this one. From my perspective it failed to capture the man and felt like a forced construction of his personality.
It was a very worthwhile listen. I felt like I learned a lot. It could covered a lot of his life in a good amount of detail.
I've been spoiled by Ron Chernow, David McCullough, and Jean Edward Smith when it comes to biographies - although the author of this book did not set out to write a definitive life and times for Jefferson, I couldn't help but wish for a more detailed account. Nevertheless I would highly recommend this book to anyone - there was not a dull moment and I did learn a lot about Jefferson.
Meacham writes very and the narrator was superb! I believe that Jefferson did not really believe in Liberty for humanity. The very saddles he placed on the backs of his slaves were not removed until his death. Perrhaps if he had fought for the abolition of slavery, we could have avoided a horrific Civil War and this nation would have come closer to the peaceful existence of diverse groups of people. But Jefferson was a lazy Southern elitist who believed himself superior to the poor black slaves who worked from sunup to sundown to fulfill his every need. If he believed in a god, it was the god of power and money and not the God who created all men free! If he believed in Enlightenment and education, he withheld it from the blacks he owned and denied it to the 3/5 that elected him president in 1801. If he believed in reason, he justified that blacks and whites could not live together in peace. If he believed in compassion and sympathy, he was too cowardly to extend that compassion to Sally Hemmings and the children he sired by her. if he believed in the words that he copied in the Declaration of Independence, he would have devoted his life to ensuring the liberties of all mankind.
Yes, Jefferson was shrewd and cunning and thought in terms of political expediency. He did not have the moral character of John Adams nor the political will of John Quincy Adams to end and abolish slavery! For all his greatness, he faces a greater judge than mankind.
The writing is often tedious. I enjoy history books that present the history in a compelling way allowing the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. This book is constantly drawing conclusions for the reader (which may or may not be the conclusions the reader would draw). The dancing around the Sally Hennings relationship is apologetic and patronizing.
No I read this genre all the time.
It is hard to unwind the narration from the narrative, but I felt it had a sing song quality with emphasis often mistakenly placed, artificial.
This question does not apply.
I was very disappointed. I knew the author from his TV appearances and really looked forward to a good read.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It opened my eyes to a great statesman and humanitarian. Unfortunately schools don't touch on how truly special these founders were to our land. I have fallen in love with Jefferson.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on Jefferson. In the first place, he is a man that anyone curious about history should study and this book gives an unbiased portrayal of his life. Jefferson is neither lionized nor demonized by the author. His remarkable thirst for knowledge about many things from science to wine to women to religious liberty to politics make the lengthy book go by swiftly.
Second, the storyteller does a remarkable job throughout the book and is a major reason why I'd recommend this audio book to anyone.
Third, the story is consistently fresh and non-repetitive. It covers Jeffersons life both personally and politically in way that any human could relate to. Further, Jefferson's story resonates today, and understanding his struggles with partisanship and cultural warfare and leadership helps contextualize today's political environment. 👍🏼👍🏼
Thomas Jefferson's story is our story. Growth comes through opposition. The world is a better place when contending views are respected and considered. Washington and Hamilton were right. Jefferson and Madison were right. Adams was right. And, we have the United States to show for it.
I would have liked a greater effort to assess the meaning of Jefferson's many contradictions.