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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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 was a fascinating read. What a complex and important person Jefferson was. This book does such a great job explaining the virtues and vices (more appropriately hypocricy) of the real Thomas Jefferson though leaves the reader with a profound respect and admiration for one of the most talented and influencial men to have ever lived. Should be required reading for every American. Incredible life. Outstanding biography.
Upset that I've wasted the time.
I'm halfway through & haven't learned a thing I cared to know. So much trivia that could have been about anyone. Some inconsequential thing happened on Wednesday, July 22 at 1:15 pm. I can't go any further.
I liked the tone the of the writing as well as the plot and openness to address the thinking and understanding of the epoch. To Those who find culture a cult this is a must.I truly fell in love to the father of America
Facilitating the creation and protection of legacy wealth
All the stories we've come to know, but insight into failures, doubts, and turmoil never discussed in high school history.
From start to finish this book captured the essence of Mr. Jefferson. It did not pretend that he was more or less than what he actually was. This country could use another Jefferson at the helm.
I've read/listened to biographies on Adams, Washington, and Hamilton, and each painted a negative picture of Jefferson. While this may err in the other direction, it is good to hear both sides of the discussion on one of our most important leaders. Meacham does attempt balance; he's not totally one-sided on TJ, so this is not propaganda, it's still good history. Well-written and narrated, it is worth the time.
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