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Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Meacham, Jon Author

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 Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American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

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: As multifaceted a character as has ever been seen in American history (not to mention politics), Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the ideal leader for the young nation still struggling with external threats and its own identity: a to-the-core individualist and visionary who both embodied and reconciled the contradictions of individualism and a shared nationality. It’s no mean feat to render the life and times of such a figure (much less make it compulsively readable), but as with his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson ( American Lion), Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power vividly illustrates the world and impact of our third president, deftly weaving the threads of Jefferson’s personality into a complete portrait of a singularly complex politician and thinker--a philosopher president. -- Jon Foro

About the Author:

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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Book Description Random House, 2012. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "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 GODWIN , author of Team of Rivals "Jon Meacham resolves the bundle of contradictions that was Thomas Jefferson by probing his love of progress and thirst for power. Here was a man endlessly, artfully intent on making the world something it had not been before. A thrilling and affecting portrait of our first philosopher-politician."-- STACY SCHIFF , author of Cleopatra: A Life " A true triumph . In addition to being a brilliant biography, this book is a guide to the use of power. 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 , author of Steve Jobs "This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written ; it is certainly the most readable."-- GORDON WOOD , author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_1400067669

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Book Description Random House, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. xxix, 759, [24] pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm Hardcover and dust jacket. Fine binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. In this biography the author draws upon archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished transcripts of Jefferson presidential papers to give readers a view of Jefferson the politician and the President, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. 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. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson's genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously, catapulting him into becoming the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history. Contents: The world's best hope --The scion : beginnings to Spring 1774 --The revolutionary : Spring 1774 to Summer 1776 --Reformer and governor : late 1776 to 1782 --The frustrated Congressman : late 1782 to mid-1784 --A man of the world : 1785 to 1789 --The first Secretary of State : 1789 to 1792 --The leader of the opposition : 1793 to 1800 --The President of the United States : 1801 to 1809 --The master of Monticello : 1809 to the end --All honor to Jefferson. Prologue. The world's best hope --pt. I. The scion: beginnings to spring 1774 : A fortunate son ; What fixed the destinies of my life ; Roots of revolution ; Temptations and trials ; A world of desire and denial --pt. II. The revolutionary: spring 1774 to summer 1776 : Like a shock of electricity ; There is no peace ; The famous Mr. Jefferson ; The course of human events ; The pull of duty --pt. III. Reformer and governor: late 1776 to 1782 : An agenda for liberty ; A troublesome office ; Redcoats at Monticello ; To burn on through death --pt. IV. The frustrated congressman: late 1782 to mid-1784 : Return to the arena ; A struggle for respect ; Lost cities and life counsel --pt. V. A man of the world: 1785 to 1789 : The vaunted scene of Europe ; The philosophical world ; His head and his heart ; Do you like our new Constitution? ; A treaty in Paris --pt. VI. The first Secretary of State: 1789 to 1792 : A new post in New York ; Mr. Jefferson is greatly too democratic ; Two cocks in the pit ; The end of a stormy tour --pt. VII. The leader of the opposition: 1793 to 1800 : In wait at Monticello ; To the Vice Presidency ; The reign of witches ; Adams vs. Jefferson redux ; A desperate state of affairs --pt. VIII. The President of the United States: 1801 to 1809 : The new order of things begins ; A confident president ; Victories, scandal, and a secret sickness ; The air of enchantment! ; The people were never more happy ; A deep, dark, and widespread conspiracy ; This damned embargo ; A farewell to ultimate power --pt. IX. The master of Monticello: 1809 to the end : My body, mind, and affairs ; To form statesmen, legislators and judges ; The knell of the union ; No, doctor, nothing more --Epilogue : All honor to Jefferson. Bookseller Inventory # 1409200001

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