Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

The Art of Power

eBook - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek

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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

Praise for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
“This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written.”—Gordon S. Wood
“A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but also Jefferson the man, humanized as never before.”Entertainment Weekly

“[Meacham] captures who Jefferson was, not just as a statesman but as a man. . . . By the end of the book . . . the reader is likely to feel as if he is losing a dear friend. . . . [An] absorbing tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“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

Baker & Taylor
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion presents a richly detailed portrait of the third President that considers his early life, roles as a Founding Father and considerable achievements as a master politician. 250,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2012
ISBN: 9780679645368
Characteristics: 1 online resource


From Library Staff

3rd President 1801–1809

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 25, 2019

Excellent audiobook and reader. This biography was engaging and interesting. Highly suggest this book.

Jun 19, 2019

I'll just say upfront, Jefferson's view on race and his self inflicted 'paralyzation" in addressing the slavery issue are disappointing, to be sure. Yes, he was a product of his time and place (slavery drenched Virginia), but it still stings to observe up close, especially for such a sophisticated man in so many other areas of his life..
That said, it was Jefferson who initiated the Lewis and Clark expedition westward. and it was during his term that the Louisiana Purchase occurred.
Jefferson was flawed, for sure, but his tenure was a peaceful and successful one for the country.
This unabridged biography was very well done and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about our 3rd President. He was truly an intriguing man. I listened to the audio book format. It was very well read. Recommended.

May 21, 2018

In large print, it's a massive 1,334 pages, and weighs about the same as a large brick. Not readily manageable by the typical person who might need large print when reading.

This suggests it needs less words (author take note) or two-volume formatting (publisher take note).

Either way, readers should be aware of its challenging mass.

Jul 27, 2017

I found the book lacking in insight. There is far more to be known about Jefferson than is revealed in this book. To understand Jefferson better you need to appreciate the extent of the hypocrisy that defined him. As a companion to this book I would suggest Annette Gordon-Reed's book "The Heminges of Monticello" and of course Ron Chernow's classic "Alexander Hamilton". Jefferson is apparently recognized as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. If so that was probably the high water mark for this overrated American president.

Feb 03, 2017

Excellent biography of Jefferson and his times. Couldn't put it down!

Feb 02, 2017

Y'all have no idea how boring this book is.

Jul 27, 2016

An interesting narrative with an epistolary contingent that is very readable. An excellent biography. Worth reading if you are interested.

Nov 21, 2014

I cannot imagine a better biography of Jefferson. It's very readable, and well worth your time.

Oct 19, 2013

I've been trying for 30-45 minutes to renew Thomas Jefferson and going in circles .I've done this before with no problem. What's with this crappy system?

Dec 28, 2012

Hard to imagine that a biography of a historical figure could be considered a page turner, but I really had a hard time putting this book down. This is a well written, fascinating account of this very influential man's life.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at SJCPL

To Top