In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things - women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris - Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.
The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity - and the genius of the new nation - lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President’s House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion.
The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.
©2012 Jon Meacham (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Jon Meacham resolves the bundle of contradictions that was Thomas Jefferson by probing his love of progress and thirst for power. This is a thrilling and affecting portrait of our first philosopher-politician." (Stacy Schiff)
"This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today." (Doris Kearns Goodwin)
"Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power is a true triumph, a brilliant biography. Jon Meacham shows how Jefferson's deft ability to compromise and improvise made him a transformational leader. We think of Jefferson as the embodiment of noble ideals, as he was, but Meacham shows that he was a practical politician more than a moral theorist. The result is a fascinating look at how Jefferson wielded his driving desire for power and control." (Walter Isaacson)
this portrayal of Jefferson is accurate, and that it portrays both his pros and cons. It doesn't shy away from the relationships that he had throughout his life. But it also highlight some of the important things that he did to found America. A good read, and a good performance.
Jefferson too complex to write a single volume. This was a wonderful portrait with details painted with a broad stroke. Plus the wonderful reading by the late Edward Hermann makes it a memorable treat
I am a live storyteller who devours huge amounts of audio books to study classics and new books so I can tell new stories.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend interested in and passionate about learning more about a key Founding Father. I had held off reading the Jefferson biography because of his hypocrisy of championing freedom while owning slaves, but I am glad I finally relented and listened to this one because I learned more about the man of contradictions.
My favorite character was Jefferson because of his brilliancy of thought and his inquisitiveness. He expressed himself well and with depth and erudition.
Yes, I wanted to listen to this book all in one setting. I had recently completed biographies of Adams, Hamilton, Franklin, and Washington. Jefferson was the one Founding Father whose biography I had not read. I am glad I listened to this one because Jefferson gave his view, his perspective of the American Revolution. He also played pivotal roles in shaping the country that was to come. I highly recommend this biography.
Edward Herman's narration was excellent. Very important read for our times. Paints a real picture of the man and his times.
Jefferson was full of contradiction. A man of paradox. This is precisely what makes him fascinating. The unfortunate thing is that 21st century society sees contradiction and paradox as a vice. I could not disagree more. The portrait the author paints of Jefferson shows that his conflicting views are exactly what made him a great man.
Jefferson's ideology sometimes crossed his pragmatism. His pragmatism sometimes crossed his ideology. That's leadership. There is example after example of this in the book. A powerful leader knows not only how but when to use his will to bend reality. Because of the slowness of societal evolution, he also understands that some of his ideas cannot yet be realized and pragmatism must abound. This is Jefferson. A leader.
His contradictions in my view paint him as a normal human. We all have contradiction but we are ashamed to display them because of the current political winds. That's unfortunate.
This book is a really good book. The narration is perfect. I highly recommend it.
Fascinating view of Thomas Jefferson. Always a fan, this is an in depth view of Jefferson's thinking and reasoning. No beating Edward Herrmann!! Loved it!!
This book is very interesting in that it sheds light on many things I did not know about Thomas Jefferson. I thought it was interesting however, how specific items such as the Right of citizens to be armed for rebellion if need be being left out of the list of his concerns over the Bill of Rights, and calling Jeffersons talk about standing up to tyranny as being hyperbolic, to be somewhat disturbing in a book supposedly about the life of a man who passionately, and vehemently hated oppressive governmental regimes. Indeed, more focus is put on the sundry exercises of Mr. Jefferson's venery during that hour than on his opinion on this issue.
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