Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Front Cover
Random House, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 759 pages
653 Reviews
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

Advance praise for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

“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
  

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A compelling insight into a visionary. - Goodreads
Well-researched, but there are some glaring omissions. - Goodreads
Excellent, educational novel. - Goodreads
A very nice overview of Jefferson's remarkable life. - Goodreads
For me, this book was difficult to read. - Goodreads
The writing style is readable and accessible. - Goodreads

Review: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

User Review  - Jeff Jones - Goodreads

I really liked the insights into Jefferson's complex character and the events during his life. The writing was a bit jumpy and I would have preferred more of a narrative. Read full review

Review: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

User Review  - Albert Avany - Goodreads

A very insightful book Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Contents

TWO Vhat Fixed the Destinies of My Life
27
FOUR Temptations and Trials
40
THE REVOLUTIONARY
64
1 Shock of Electricity GONG mm
78
EIGHT The Famous Mr Jefferson
109
REFORMER AND GOVERNOR
117
TWELVE A Troublesome Office
131
THIRTEEN Redeoats at Monticello
137
TWENTYEIGHT To the Vice Presidency
299
TWENTYNINE The Reign ofVVitches
311
THIRTY Adams vs Jefferson Redux
331
STATES 1801 TO 1809
345
THIRTYTVVO The New Order ofThings Begins 247
360
THIRTYFOUR Victories Scandal and a Secret Sickness
372
THIRTYFIVE The Air of Enchantment
383
THIRTYSIX The People Were Never More Ilappy 294
394

FOURTEEN To Burn on Through Death
144
FIFTEEN Return to the Arena
153
SIXTEEN A Struggle for Respect
161
A MAN OF THE WORLD 1785 TO 1789
179
NINETEEN The Philosophical World
188
TWENTY His Head and His Heart
197
TWENTYONE Do You Like Our New Constitution? 2 05
205
THE FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE
229
TWENTYFOUR Mr Jefferson Is Greatly Too Democratic
246
TWENTYIIVE Two Cocks in the Pit
259
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
267
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
281
THIRTYIsEVEN A Deep Dark and Videspread Conspiracy
425
THIRTYNINE A Farewell to Ultimate Power
436
THE MASTER OF MONTICELLO
443
FORIYONE To Form Statesmen Legislators and Judges
462
FORTYTWO The Knell of the Union
474
FORTYTHREE No Doctor Nothing More
490
EPILOGUE All Honor tojeflerson
497
AUTHORS NOTE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
507
NOTES
691
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
731
INDEX
737
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Jon Meacham is the author, most recently, of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, a #1 New York Times bestseller that has been named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, The Seattle Times, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion, his bestselling 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Franklin and Winston and American Gospel. Executive editor and executive vice president of Random House, Meacham is a contributing editor to Time magazine, a former editor of Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. He is a regular contributor on Meet the Press, Morning Joe, and Charlie Rose. A Fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham serves on the boards of the New-York Historical Society, the Churchill Centre, and The McCallie School. He is a former trustee and regent of Sewanee: The University of the South, and has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Trinity Wall Street church in New York City. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at The McCallie School and at Sewanee: The University of the South, where he was salutatorian and Phi Beta Kappa. He began his career as a reporter at The Chattanooga Times. He and his wife live with their three children in Nashville and in Sewanee.

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