Customer Reviews for

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

As a retired military man, I really enjoyed this book. Despite

As a retired military man, I really enjoyed this book. Despite how people feel about Jefferson's personal life choices, he was without a doubt one of the most influential leaders in early America. This book offers both timeless wisdom, and fresh insight into what made...
As a retired military man, I really enjoyed this book. Despite how people feel about Jefferson's personal life choices, he was without a doubt one of the most influential leaders in early America. This book offers both timeless wisdom, and fresh insight into what made him such an inspiring and effective leader.

posted by SteveJ54 on December 9, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

17 out of 156 people found this review helpful.

The following is enough to keep me from buying this book: "

The following is enough to keep me from buying this book:

"The author of 'All men are created equal' owned slaves and almost certainly kept one as his concubine, and kept their children in his house, still slaves."

The zeal to denigrate American historical i...
The following is enough to keep me from buying this book:

"The author of 'All men are created equal' owned slaves and almost certainly kept one as his concubine, and kept their children in his house, still slaves."

The zeal to denigrate American historical icons is an unfortunate modern trend. The DNA evidence reagrding the paternity of Sally Hemings children was misrepresented deliberately by the fraud Joseph Ellis. Sad to see Meacham buy into it.
The DNA excluded any Jefferson male from being the father of three of her four children. So much for the notion that Jefferson kept his children(plural) as slaves. As for the remaining child the DNA evidence shows that a Jefferson male was the father. There were many Jefferson males present at Monticello. That makes thomas Jefferson's paternity a possibility, but a long ways from being a probability.

posted by Investor612 on November 16, 2012

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    As a retired military man, I really enjoyed this book. Despite

    As a retired military man, I really enjoyed this book. Despite how people feel about Jefferson's personal life choices, he was without a doubt one of the most influential leaders in early America. This book offers both timeless wisdom, and fresh insight into what made him such an inspiring and effective leader.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Mr. Meacham is one of my favorite authors.  I have read two othe

    Mr. Meacham is one of my favorite authors.  I have read two other books by him and felt privileged to be able to read his work.
     I have been reading about Our Founding Fathers for the last four years.  I was waiting for this book to be published and was glad when
    it became available.  It is well researched, documented, and written.  Mr. Jefferson does not come across as as someone above
    humanity.  He is all too human.  He is complex, deeply academic ,and curious of life.  I never knew that he spoke and wrote against
    slavery.  But he was a man of his time and even though he personally believed slavery to be evil, he was not willing to fight against  that
    ghastly institution.  Jefferson owned over a hundred slaves and had six children by one, Sally Hemings.
     I would respectfully disagree with those who take Mr Mecham to task for not editorializing against Jefferson's hypocrisy.  Mr. Mecham
    does not have to .  The reader can certainly draw his or her own conclusion that Thomas Jefferson had feet of clay. concerning slavery
    But this does not disqualify him from his truly remarkable words and work that helped to found our nation.  

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    What interesting individuals to submit a review without even rea

    What interesting individuals to submit a review without even reading a word from the book. You base your opinions on "modern trends." Sad, seems like you are an educated individual, it is just too bad you are not educated indeed.

    20 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2012

    The following is enough to keep me from buying this book: "

    The following is enough to keep me from buying this book:

    "The author of 'All men are created equal' owned slaves and almost certainly kept one as his concubine, and kept their children in his house, still slaves."

    The zeal to denigrate American historical icons is an unfortunate modern trend. The DNA evidence reagrding the paternity of Sally Hemings children was misrepresented deliberately by the fraud Joseph Ellis. Sad to see Meacham buy into it.
    The DNA excluded any Jefferson male from being the father of three of her four children. So much for the notion that Jefferson kept his children(plural) as slaves. As for the remaining child the DNA evidence shows that a Jefferson male was the father. There were many Jefferson males present at Monticello. That makes thomas Jefferson's paternity a possibility, but a long ways from being a probability.

    17 out of 156 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderfully Written. I always enjoy books about our founding fa

    Wonderfully Written. I always enjoy books about our founding fathers!

    15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    This book is the work of one man. Hundreds have written about Je

    This book is the work of one man. Hundreds have written about Jefferson. Please take the time to study the entire person, flaws and all.
    I too was offended that Thomsas Jefferson not only owned slaves but had relations with Sally Hemming.
    But, if you read a variety of the works of Jefferson, you'll realize that he lived in a time when slavery was acceptable, not right, but acceptable.
    He felt strongly that this battle was for another generation.
    In his 40 or so years of public service, he was a Representative, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice President and President. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he authored the Declaration of Independence and fought hard to see that our nation didn't turn into a monarcy.He wasn't perfect, but pretty close.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Excellent bio

    A must-read for info on an important founding father. Compelling and interesting.

    14 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Gordon S. Wood says this is the best single volume about Thomas

    Gordon S. Wood says this is the best single volume about Thomas Jefferson. That is enough for me. I have asked for it as a Christmas present.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interested in history and politics? You'll like this one!

    Jefferson’s history as a political leader, philosopher and student of republican government, scientist, planter, slave-owner, and gentrified land owner was what defined him as perhaps our most famous president. As a member of the House of Burgesses, Continental Congress, Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice-President, and President, Jefferson used his background and experiences to define not only his own personal beliefs, but also the politics of his days given the power that he held in those offices. For me this was the most interesting aspect of the book.
    In this book Jon Meacham illustrates how Jefferson was such an important figure in the process of defining what the United States was to become, how it was to be governed, and how it was to be led. My take is that Jefferson was the right person at the right time concerning our country. Born in 1743, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33 in 1776, was elected president in 1800 after a bitter political fight, served 2 terms as President, and died on the same day, July 4th, 1826 as the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That same day in 1826, near Boston, John Adams also died.
    For me, the most interesting aspect of the book is that from the very beginnings of the United States, politics have played major roles. Even “the father of our country,” George Washington was thought of as a Federalist, even by some of the democratic-republicans of Virginia such as Jefferson and Madison. John Adams, our 2nd president, was traditionally a Whig in the early days of the revolution, but also realized that a monarchial form of government was not in the best interest of liberty loving Americans. It was the political differences between Jefferson, the democratic-republican, and Alexander Hamilton, the staunch Federalist, that fueled the heated discourse during the presidential election of 1800, manifested in the political conflict between Jefferson and John Adams in that election. From page 458, Meacham quotes from a letter written by Jefferson to John Adams in June, 1813,
    “Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the U.S. have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people, or that of the [best men; nobles] should prevail, were questions which kept the states of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions…As we had longer than most others on the public theatre, and our names therefore were more familiar to our countrymen, the party which considered you as thinking with them, placed your name at their head, for the same reason selected mine.”
    At Monticello, Jefferson was master of his own domain which included land, plantations, buildings, and slaves. While there was certainly abolitionist movements within the states,“southern states” including Virginia depended upon slavery. Jefferson was certain slavery would be abolished, but he felt it would be left to succeeding generations to make that happen. While he was still alive, his children from Sally Hemings, a slave and half-sister of his wife, were considered slaves. When he died, Sally and all children and grandchildren were considered to be free.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Disappointing

    I found this book to be heavy on detail but lacking in substance. The author only mentions in passing the debate while drafting the Declaration of Independence regarding separation of church and state. I would have enjoyed a discussion of the various positions taken by the founders. Also, when discussing the roles Jefferson and Adams played as diplomats to France and Great Britain, respectively, I would have appreciated a fuller discussion of what arguements they used in an effort to convince Great Britain that it was better off without the colonies. But, the author chose to spend more time dealing with petty matters such as Jefferson's personal correspondence, and the gifts he purchased for himself and the Adams. After a while, this book becomes tedious.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Thomas Jefferson

    He'S A GREAT GUY TO LEARN ABOUT! I'm learning about him and the Revulosanry War.

    7 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Check this book at a library first before you buy!

    100 pages into this book and not impressed. While the author has clearly researched his topic he offers only quotes strung together in an awkward style. I will eventually finish reading because I hate to waste money. I guess I am just not enough of a snobbish intellectual. Tell me a great story, not just a string of facts.

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2012

    After having recently visited Monticello I knew this was a book I had to read, and I was pleasantly surprised! A definite read for the Jeffersonian reader.

    This is one of the most insightful probings of Jefferson and his life that I have ever read! I have many books on Jefferson and his style of power, but this one I truly believe is at the top of the heap!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    History

    If you like to read about presidents, then read this book. Jon Meacham has a way of writing that makes history so interesting. A must for your personal library.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Not a fan

    I've read TJ's letters and many books on him, and unfortunately, I am finding it difficult to say much good about this book. Meacham does little else than recount historical details; the book fails to depict a cognitive construct from which a level of artistry in achieving power could be claimed; why, then, title the book "the art of power"? Meacham's Jefferson is astute, intelligent, educated, but also reactive and a bit whiny. I'm not seeing any art of power.... The book is also in need of a good editor - someone who could pull together the many disparate pieces of this book into coherent angles.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    eww

    This book is terrible

    2 out of 81 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    An insightful read

    This novel offers new insights to the mind and thinking of Thomas Jefferson and how the visions and actions he took, not only while drafting the Declaration of Independence, but his ideas and philosophies of dispensing government. The reason is that this novel gives us a new insight in my belief of Jefferson's thinking is the focus on the formative years that many may not know about, his becoming master of a house at 14 and the teachings of his teachers and mentors thru his teens and takes us on a new journey thru his life, founding a great read

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    Wonderful story.

    Meacham tells a wonderful story of a great American in a way that everyone can enjoy, not just the history buffs. I am a history teacher and do love a good biography and realize they can be a bit dry. Meacham helps us to view the events of Jefferson's life from the perspective of Jefferson himself, giving life to the story of his life. This is well written and well researched.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    A must read if you love U.S. History

    All I can say is another excellent biography By Author Jon Meacham. He gets his facts straight and gets into person's character. A must read if you are an American and want more information on our founding fathers.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2012

    Great reading for history buffs!

    Great reading for history buffs!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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