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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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)
enlightening and riveting
Jefferson...no need to explain why
there's way more to the Thomas Jefferson you learned about in 8th grade!
The objective review of Thomas Jefferson as a complex man.
Thomas Jefferson, a man who was concerned with liberties while being pragmatic.
Both were excellent and kept you involved throughout the lengthy reading.
The same as the Title.
The audio version makes the experience of Jefferson personal
The contrast of the individual person, the intellectual and the practical
The personal and reflective approach
The very end-the summing up of a lfe
What we learned about Thomas Jefferson when we were younger is cursory at best. Here, in detail, and clearly written is the story of one of our most important Americans. Whatever political party you favor you can support Jefferson because he touched on all aspects of American life in a way that made this country stronger. Meacham makes clear that Jefferson always had the country in mind in all decisions and that puts him above "politicians" of today.
Edward Hermann's narration adds a great deal to a well researched and well written book.
Someone that didn't care about discovering the truth and wanted to discredit a great man.
If the author had done a little research instead of passing on and promoting every undocumented lie concerning Jefferson.
When I turned off the book was the best moment. Unfortunately the book was well read so I kept hoping a few true facts would surface. I was continually disappointed.
I would have cut the entire book.
At least with a paper book I could have thrown it away and felt like I had given this book what it deserved . Just deleting the book from my computer seems insufficient.
Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.
Jon Meacham does an excellent job of fleshing out this most improbable of men. Jefferson, an amalgamation of conflicting desires and motives, that sometimes left him on the wrong side of history, was that man. This we can see now, as we have clear hindsight to guide us. Our third president, as with all makers of history, had no such guiding light. They had to deal with those inscrutable issues with only their current knowledge and life experience. It is easy for us to make judgements about behaviors, that today, seem unconscionable, but were not then even noticeable. Although, it was clear that Jefferson knew, even then, that slavery was a blot on our nation. Still, he could not muster the will do anything substantive about it.
The author takes pains to give us the context, as well as concurrent examples of the community expectations of the day in which Jefferson lived.
This is an excellent look at the founding of our country and the men that formed these United States, and to a great extent, the wider world, that we have evolved into.
As always, Ed Herrmann is a comfortable and familiar voice that makes listening to this book a pleasure.
I am unable to rank "Jefferson" as it falls into a category of its own. Suffice to say I was intrigued.
The most memorable part of the book is the use of the English and how beautifully descriptive it was in the day. We certainly do not converse that way today!
Edward Herrmann is the best at reading.
I was very impressed by this audiobook. It was very detailed and I learnt great deal about the private and public life of Thomas Jefferson.
Being an Australian citizen, we don’t grow up with stories of the past American Presidents like I am sure American children do, so it was refreshing to hear how much of a great man Thomas Jefferson was and how much he loved liberty.
He truly was a man who believed in limited Government and giving the power to the people. Sadly his vision of the American Republic has greatly been lost now when you see the control that President Obama is taking over the people's rights today and what is happening in Congress.
The story about Jefferson creating his own bible ( he created two ) was accurate but it was not explained why he decided to remove certain parts - it was simply because he wanted to capture the words of Christ wisdom to outreach to the Red Indian and not because he didn’t believe in Christs divine nature which the book proposes. A serious twisting of the truth that I think Jefferson himself would not appreciate. I have heard there is a question about the accuracy of the DNA testing and the Sally Heming’s affair – (this may require greater research.)
But overall this is an excellent book and well worth listening to and purchasing.
Alan - Australia
Yes. With Meacham still living, Herrman has all the guidance he might need, should he have varied from the author's intent.
The insight into Jefferson's life to better understand the forces which effected him.
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