Few would deny that Thomas Jefferson was a towering figure. Not only in physical stature, but in intellect, curiosity, wile, creativity, "language", architecture and plain old luck (as seen when Napoleon decided to unload Louisiana). If Washington "inspired awe"... and Adams "respect"... Jefferson was the one who could charm the pants off of anyone. And as the Hemings family knows, he was known to do this. Lord knows enough has been written about our third president. But this volume should easily be considered along side Ron Chernow's Washington, or McCullough's John Adams. Definitive it is. Meacham introduces us to a young lad from a plantation in Virginia and with each page, doggedly tails him through an extraordinary life to his death 50 years to the day after July 4th, 1776... incredibly, the same day John Adams breathed his last. One reason this book is so timely? The presidential election of 1800. Two nascent parties solidified. Federalists (or "monarchists") vs. Republicans. And rabid partisanship raised its ugly head for the first time in our young country's history. In short, if you think 2012's presidential election was a mud-slinging extravaganza, 1800's election beat it hands down. Blasphemous stories spread in the media of the day (broadsheets) trampled truth. Jefferson and other Republicans -- using pseudonyms -- penned blatant lies about Adams and other Federalists. Hamilton and other authors smeared in kind. Jefferson's election still stands as the dirtiest in American history. So, take that, you current Citizens United fans. In a letter to Edward Rutledge, Jefferson wrote: "You and I have formerly seen warm debates and high political passions. But gentlemen of different politics would then speak to each other... It is not so now. Men who have been intimate all their lives cross the streets to avoid meeting, and turn their heads another way lest they should be obliged to touch their hat." Sound like the dysfunctionality of Washington today? Meacham's book paints a vivid picture of why Jefferson earned the right to be one of our more colorful founding fathers. His facility with language was legendary -- yet he could barely speak in public. He operated as a complete detail artist and total control freak -- yet he paid out great amounts of rope to others so they could help make history. He personified eloquence -- yet he often entertained in his slippers wearing "slovenly" clothes. He winced at slavery -- but did not fall on its moral sword when needed. He was a consummate shopper -- and always was able to pull an expensive bottle of wine from his cellar. After living life to its fullest, he died deeply in debt. But truly, a few centuries later, the debt belongs to us. You'll just have to read this book to fully understand.— From Bob's Book Talk
In this special illustrated edition of the #1 New York Times bestselling Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham, young readers will learn about the life and political philosophy of one of our Founding Fathers. This book is a must-read for President's Day!
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence. But he was also a lawyer and an ambassador, an inventor and a scientist. He had a wide range of interests and hobbies, but his consuming interest was the survival and success of the United States.
This book contains a note from Meacham and over 100 archival illustrations, as well as sections throughout the text about subjects such as the Boston Tea Party, the Library of Congress, and Napoléon Bonaparte. Additional materials include a time line; a family tree; a Who’s Who in Jefferson’s world; sections on Jefferson’s original writings and correspondence, “inventions,” interests, places in Jefferson’s world, finding Jefferson in the United States today, additional reading, organizations, and websites; notes; a bibliography; and an index. This adaptation, ideal for those interested in American presidents, biographies, and the founding of the American republic, is an excellent example of informational writing and reflects Meacham’s extensive research using primary source material.
Praise for Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher
“A solid resource for young people intrigued by Jefferson.” –Booklist
“Comprehensive and engaging.” –Scholastic Instructor
“There is a surprising paucity of books about Jefferson at this level and this handsome, well-written, and engaging volume fills that literary gap.” –Horn Book
“Wonderfully written and crafted... Entertaining for both kids and adults alike.” –KidsReads.com
About the Author
Jon Meacham is the author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and American Lion, his Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Andrew Jackson, as well as the bestsellers American Gospel and Franklin and Winston. He is an executive editor at Random House. He and his wife live with their three children in Nashville and Sewanee, Tennessee.