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Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power Audiobook

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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

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  •  
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 08-10-13
    Edward C. Charbonnet Memphis, TN 08-10-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Loved the Great Detail I have never read before"
    What made the experience of listening to Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power the most enjoyable?

    I loved the way the book started with a summary of what was to come. And then I very much enjoyed the great detail about his youth, his early political years, his time as Governor - good, bad and ugly - the details about his various philosophical ideas about life and religion, his time in France, is time as Secretary of State, VP and the Prez. And then the 18 years period after he was president.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    TJ himself - the book is about him. But I also enjoyed the insights into Washington and Adams.


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

    When Jefferson was running to hide from the British during the War.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael D. Stone greeneville Tn 06-27-13
    Michael D. Stone greeneville Tn 06-27-13 Member Since 2014

    Mikie

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    "Very good.... not great"
    Where does Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    mid pack


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

    cna't think of one in particular.


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

    No and Yes. I was moved to tears @ the mention of his loss of his daughter


    Any additional comments?

    I have read several books about Mr Jefferson. This was quite good, quite recommendable but not great, not epic. That Mr Jefferson was anti-federal anti monarchical goes without saying. This book, however, says it yet again. I am not sure it can be said too many times. I enjoyed this book and I DO recommend it. The narration was excellent. Not sure if it was Herrman or Meacham that was doing the majority of narration but I love that guys narration. Excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Glenwood, IA, United States 06-07-13
    Doug Glenwood, IA, United States 06-07-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful!"
    What made the experience of listening to Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power the most enjoyable?

    An excellent historical biography that underscored the central theme--Jefferson as one masterful in marshaling and using power.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the intricate details that highlighted the biography as told through letters and anecdotes.


    Any additional comments?

    Herrman's craft in telling the story is exemplary--very easy to listen to and very entertaining!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Sandy Ridge, NC, United States 02-19-13
    Paul Sandy Ridge, NC, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Great story... Great Narration"

    "All men are created equal"... Mr Jefferson maybe the exception to his own rule. This book should be on the top of anyones reading list for the life and times of Thomas Jefferson, the founding fathers and the fledgling years of these United States of America.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Chandler LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, US 01-22-13
    David Chandler LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, US 01-22-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Our Greatest Founding Father"
    If you could sum up Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power in three words, what would they be?

    Skilled, Brilliance Honesty


    What did you like best about this story?

    How impassioned he was.


    What does Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A richness of details.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    His integrity was the cornerstone of the republic.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert R Mowrer Eugene, OR United States 01-07-13
    Robert R Mowrer Eugene, OR United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Entertaining listen--excellent story"
    What did you love best about Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power?

    The story of the Jefferson--a very interesting person, politician and more


    What other book might you compare Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power to and why?

    The story of Thomas Jefferson and the writing of Meacham compare to the best fiction I have read. The story of Jefferson is as interesting as the best fiction. I have not read another non-fiction that can compare to Thomas Jefferson


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

    No


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

    Too many to list.


    Any additional comments?

    Should be required reading for high school US history students.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Mendham, NJ, United States 12-25-12
    Philip Mendham, NJ, United States 12-25-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Fantastic book on Jefferson"

    This was a very balanced and enjoyable. The book was of those that make you feel part of the time, yet give you the distanced perspective. The readers style was very enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Denver, CO, United States 12-14-12
    David Denver, CO, United States 12-14-12
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    "A somewhat sympathetic treatment and very thorough"
    Where does Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Ranked in the top quarter of my audio books this year.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't recall a variety of voices in this performance, Thomas was the focus.


    Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann and Jon Meacham – was your favorite?

    I came for the knowledge of Jefferson and felt I received a great deal of that here.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Perhaps undeserving of the reverence heretofore granted this founding father.


    Any additional comments?

    This book, combined with a recent article in "Smithsonian," has dethroned this former hero of mine. Jefferson is revealed as a duplicitious schemer, rabid partisan and bigot. His performance as president seems lackluster, with his crowning achievement, the Lousiana Purchase, having fallen in his lap.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 12-08-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 12-08-16 Member Since 2017

    I am a husband/dad/granddad who loves books. My reviews are my subjective opinions. My hope is they will help others make buying decisions.

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    "Historian Jon Meacham disappoints. Again!"

    Let's start with narration. Edward Hermann is an outstanding narrator of both biographies and fiction. Like all narrators, he is best when the content of the book is interesting. I did not down rate his narration due to the awful writing of the book.

    I really must stop purchasing books written by second-rate historian Jon Meacham. My issue is much more with his dry and boring writing style than with the contents of his biographies of historical figures. His Andrew Jackson biography was even worse than this boring tome. A great biography reads like a great story rather than a dry tome. Meacham would do well to hire a ghost writer to at least clean up the boring style of his transcripts. Or he could read and attempt to emulate David McCullough biographies of Samuel Adams, Harry Truman, and the young Theodore Roosevelt. Several months ago I read Ron Chernow's brilliant Hamilton. Chernow's biographies of historical figures, like McCullough's, are consistently great biographies told as wonderful stories.

    My other issue with this book is that based on the title, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, I was expecting it to deal more fully with Jefferson's use of power as president. Instead this book is a biography of Jefferson's full life with no special attention paid to his use of the power of his offices. Frankly, I learned more about Jefferson the politician from McCullough's Samuel Adams and Chernow's Hamilton than from Meacham's book.

    The bottom like on Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power is that Meacham does not do justice to one of the great founders of our country by writing a dry, boring biography.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Creating Purpose, LLC 10-13-16
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    "One-sided view of Jefferson"

    This biography covers the breath of Jefferson's life in detail, as long as you gloss the Hemming assault and slavery as the time he lived, his cowardice as a governor as simply leaving the city, and his extreme insensitivity to the French citizens as they revolted while he ate cake in their midst as statesmanship. He was renowned for his insatiable pursuit of married women and his arrogance around the battles for independence (he never fought in any battle, preferring Louis XIV). He ran on the stance of less government intervention and yet his presidency moved to empower central government and the executive branch further than any other president. Yet he maintained a hatred for the Federalist. He never acknowledged his children, keeping them slaves with a brutal overseer, yet this biography glosses over this as part of his greatness as a statesman, speaking of his love for his gardens, enormous home and building of the University of Virginia, all accomplished on the backs of slave labor. The last two chapters were laughable in their worship of a very flawed, arrogant, elitist. Narration was very good and clear, however.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Adriano
    Milan
    12/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too many details!"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is fantastic from a bibliographical prospective. Extremely detailed. A person really passionate about Jefferson would like it! <br/>The usual reader is lost in too many letters and details about day to day life, and lose the great ideals that drive Jefferson's life.


    Has Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power put you off other books in this genre?

    Probably


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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