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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Rob Rockville, MD 01-25-17
    Rob Rockville, MD 01-25-17 Member Since 2016

    achtmeyr

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    "great portrait"

    Certainly an important review of Jefferson's life. well written and interesting. I really liked the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deranda 01-17-17
    Deranda 01-17-17
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    "Good?"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story doesn't progress chronologically, and there is a definite deficit of quotes from Thomas Jefferson in the book. It feels like the author is grafting on a set of Machiavellian motives onto every action that Jefferson took- and while as a politician he was no doubt calculating- the portrayal here seems very flat. I actually feel like I got a better feel for his character from the Jon Adams Biography and from the James Madison Biography than from this one. From my perspective it failed to capture the man and felt like a forced construction of his personality.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casten Riepling Oakland, CA United States 12-30-16
    Casten Riepling Oakland, CA United States 12-30-16 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "very interesting and informative"

    It was a very worthwhile listen. I felt like I learned a lot. It could covered a lot of his life in a good amount of detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shira 12-17-16
    shira 12-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great little book but not a masterpiece"
    What other book might you compare Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power to and why?

    I've been spoiled by Ron Chernow, David McCullough, and Jean Edward Smith when it comes to biographies - although the author of this book did not set out to write a definitive life and times for Jefferson, I couldn't help but wish for a more detailed account. Nevertheless I would highly recommend this book to anyone - there was not a dull moment and I did learn a lot about Jefferson.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Bruttomesso 12-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    "puts life in context of the period"

    puts life in context of the period. well done. great reading by Herman

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rj 12-04-16
    Rj 12-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Good Story, Shrewd Politician "

    Meacham writes very and the narrator was superb! I believe that Jefferson did not really believe in Liberty for humanity. The very saddles he placed on the backs of his slaves were not removed until his death. Perrhaps if he had fought for the abolition of slavery, we could have avoided a horrific Civil War and this nation would have come closer to the peaceful existence of diverse groups of people. But Jefferson was a lazy Southern elitist who believed himself superior to the poor black slaves who worked from sunup to sundown to fulfill his every need. If he believed in a god, it was the god of power and money and not the God who created all men free! If he believed in Enlightenment and education, he withheld it from the blacks he owned and denied it to the 3/5 that elected him president in 1801. If he believed in reason, he justified that blacks and whites could not live together in peace. If he believed in compassion and sympathy, he was too cowardly to extend that compassion to Sally Hemmings and the children he sired by her. if he believed in the words that he copied in the Declaration of Independence, he would have devoted his life to ensuring the liberties of all mankind.

    Yes, Jefferson was shrewd and cunning and thought in terms of political expediency. He did not have the moral character of John Adams nor the political will of John Quincy Adams to end and abolish slavery! For all his greatness, he faces a greater judge than mankind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Penniman 11-27-16
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    5
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    "Disappointing"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The writing is often tedious. I enjoy history books that present the history in a compelling way allowing the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. This book is constantly drawing conclusions for the reader (which may or may not be the conclusions the reader would draw). The dancing around the Sally Hennings relationship is apologetic and patronizing.


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

    No I read this genre all the time.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    It is hard to unwind the narration from the narrative, but I felt it had a sing song quality with emphasis often mistakenly placed, artificial.


    What character would you cut from Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power?

    This question does not apply.


    Any additional comments?

    I was very disappointed. I knew the author from his TV appearances and really looked forward to a good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne 11-23-16
    Dianne 11-23-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Eye opening"

    I enjoyed this book immensely. It opened my eyes to a great statesman and humanitarian. Unfortunately schools don't touch on how truly special these founders were to our land. I have fallen in love with Jefferson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cole 11-11-16
    cole 11-11-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Fantastic historical biography"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book on Jefferson. In the first place, he is a man that anyone curious about history should study and this book gives an unbiased portrayal of his life. Jefferson is neither lionized nor demonized by the author. His remarkable thirst for knowledge about many things from science to wine to women to religious liberty to politics make the lengthy book go by swiftly.
    Second, the storyteller does a remarkable job throughout the book and is a major reason why I'd recommend this audio book to anyone.
    Third, the story is consistently fresh and non-repetitive. It covers Jeffersons life both personally and politically in way that any human could relate to. Further, Jefferson's story resonates today, and understanding his struggles with partisanship and cultural warfare and leadership helps contextualize today's political environment. 👍🏼👍🏼

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sweetnswag 10-24-16
    Sweetnswag 10-24-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Opposition in All Things"

    Thomas Jefferson's story is our story. Growth comes through opposition. The world is a better place when contending views are respected and considered. Washington and Hamilton were right. Jefferson and Madison were right. Adams was right. And, we have the United States to show for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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