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Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power | [Jon Meacham]

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1145 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Charles Whitehead Easton, MD 02-04-13
    Charles Whitehead Easton, MD 02-04-13 Member Since 2012

    steam boat

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Very good history, but hard to read."
    What made the experience of listening to Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power the most enjoyable?

    It was very full of facts, some of which made the reading difficult.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power?

    It has made me want to learn more about the early history of the country.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ned 02-01-13
    Ned 02-01-13 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mr. Jefferson revealed"
    If you could sum up Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power in three words, what would they be?

    Eclectic, Bright, politician


    What did you like best about this story?

    the story of his entire life.


    What about Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham ’s performance did you like?

    very easy to listen to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Meacham's work in this book is magnificent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riverman63 Riverside CA 01-30-13
    Riverman63 Riverside CA 01-30-13 Member Since 2008

    Drudge

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    327
    31
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    "Good in depth look at Mr. J"

    Halfway through and enjoying this book. It's amazing to learn so much about a guy -- that we learned so much about in school--- but really, we learned very little. Make any sense? Well, I've learned more about Jefferson and the revolution from this book then I remember l
    "learning" in school. So, good read, time well spent. Readers and story get 2 thumbs up from me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-16-13 Member Since 2013

    I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GardensWritingSlaveryPowerSexDeathRevolution"

    This book is well written and the narrator does a good job. I have listened to a biography of John Adams, which I also enjoyed. This work helps to describe the pace and volatility of the American Revolution. The accounts of his gardens, library, art collections, written word, sportsmanship, contradictions, humanity, slave holding, desires, leadership, etc, etc, etc, are more than I expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Jackson Roanoke, VA 01-07-13
    John Jackson Roanoke, VA 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    0
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    "Very well done. Learned a lot of new things"

    I've read a few Jefferson biographies before this one (American Sphinx by Joseph Ellis) and books that chronicle Jefferson's times. I learned a lot of new things in Meacham's work, and feel like I have a better understanding of Jefferson as a person, and some of the factors and experiences that movitated the decisions he made. Plus Edward Hermann is fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose-Eve Carmel Valley, CA, USA 01-07-13
    Rose-Eve Carmel Valley, CA, USA 01-07-13 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    41
    2
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    Story
    "Nothing new"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    For those who have already read several Jefferson biographies you can skip to the last three chapters. I don't think this book is as good as the Brodie biography. The last three chapters are interesting because they discuss the inconsistencies between Jefferson's beliefs vis a vis slavery, and his life as a committed slave owner.

    R. Lewis


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 12-25-12
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 12-25-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must for students of History"

    Gave me an insight into the life and times of our founding fathers. A critical book for those interested in how our nation was born.,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bowling Green, OH 12-25-12
    Amazon Customer Bowling Green, OH 12-25-12 Listener Since 2004
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Great book!"
    What did you love best about Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power?

    Well told storytelling of Jefferson's political career. Meacham does a great job of presenting a nuanced, balanced view of Jefferson and his political views.

    The Art of Power has definitively left me with a more favorable and appreciative view of Jefferson than I had reading some other authors.


    What about Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham ’s performance did you like?

    I want Edward Herrmann to read to me every night...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey L. Gingold 12-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than any history course in school"
    Where does Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Close to the top. The Rise & Fall of the 3rd Reich still ranks at the top of history books I've listened to so far. This is a very strong contender.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power?

    Handling of Jefferson's Inconsistency in dealing with slavery.


    What about Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham ’s performance did you like?

    He was easy to listen to. However,after listening to Meacham's delivery of the afterward, I found myself thinking that it would have be great if he narrated the book himself.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, other than feeling that I had learned a lot, much of it explains many of the political divisions that characterize politics today, and things look pretty tame now compared to Jefferson's era..


    Any additional comments?

    Meacham's coverage of this character and the period taught more than any history course I had in school.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Rocky Point, NY, United States 12-24-12
    Fred Rocky Point, NY, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    55
    2
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    Story
    "John Mecham does it again"
    What made the experience of listening to Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power the most enjoyable?

    Great insight on Thomas Jefferson. He goes deeply into the worls and mind of our President and revolutionary leader.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    THomas Jefferson


    Have you listened to any of Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, Great


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    none

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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