The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 28, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 367 pages
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As controversial and explosive as it is elegant and learned, The Long Affair is Conor Cruise O'Brien's examination of Thomas Jefferson, as man and icon, through the critical lens of the French Revolution. O'Brien offers a provocative analysis of the supreme symbol of American history and political culture and challenges the traditional perceptions of both Jeffersonian history and the Jeffersonian legacy.

"The book is an attack on America's long affair with Jeffersonian ideology of radical individualism: an ideology that, by confusing Jefferson with a secular prophet, will destroy the United States from within."—David C. Ward, Boston Book Review

"With his background as a politician and a diplomat, O'Brien brings a broad perspective to his effort to define Jefferson's beliefs through the prism of his attitudes toward France. . . . This is an important work that makes an essential contribution to the overall picture of Jefferson."—Booklist

"O'Brien traces the roots of Jefferson's admiration for the revolution in France but notes that Jefferson's enthusiasm for France cooled in the 1790s, when French egalitarian ideals came to threaten the slave-based Southern economy that Jefferson supported."—Library Journal

"In O'Brien's opinion, it's time that Americans face the fact that Jefferson, long seen as a champion of the 'wronged masses,' was a racist who should not be placed on a pedestal in an increasingly multicultural United States."—Boston Phoenix

"O'Brien makes a well-argued revisionist contribution to the literature on Jefferson."—Kirkus Reviews

"O'Brien is right on target . . . determined not to let the evasions and cover-ups continue."—Forrest McDonald, National Review

"The Long Affair should be read by anyone interested in Jefferson—or in a good fight."—Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review


 

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THE LONG AFFAIR: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800

User Review  - Kirkus

Irish scholar and former diplomat O'Brien (Ancestral Voices, 1995, etc.) examines two dark sides of the Jeffersonian legacy: his enthusiasm for the French Revolution, and his support for the slave ... Read full review

The long affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

O'Brien (Ancestral Voices, Univ. of Chicago, 1995) is one of the most respected men of letters in Europe and America today. He has also served as a diplomat and politician for his native Ireland. His ... Read full review

Contents

A LONELY AMERICAN Thomas Jefferson Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Louis XVI 178587
17
A SOMEWHAT CLOUDED CRYSTAL BALL Jefferson as Witness of the Last Years of the Ancien Regime 178689
38
BRINGING THE TRUE GOD HOME The French Revolution in American Politics after Jeffersons Return 178991
69
APPROACH AND ADVENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC ONE AND INDIVISIBLE 179192
113
FRENCH REVOLUTION IN AMERICA The Mission of Citizen CharlesEdmond Genet April 1793January 1794
152
THE LINGERING END OF THE LONG AFFAIR Jefferson and the French Revolution after Genets Mission 17941800
191
A THEMATIC OVERVIEW Liberty Slavery and the Cult of the French Revolution
254
THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THE IMPENDING SCHISM IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL RELIGION
301
Madison Hemingss Story
326
Notes
331
Sources
351
Index
355
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About the author (1998)

Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917-2008) was a leading Irish intellectual of his generation and had a distinguished career in public life as a diplomat, politician, government minister, writer, newspaper editor, critic, and scholar. He published numerous books in subjects such as history, biography, politics, and religion.

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