Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America

Overview

The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and the meal that saved the republic. In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind ...

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Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening That Changed America

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Overview

The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and the meal that saved the republic. In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind this pivotal evening in American history, complete with wine lists, recipes, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "Cerami wittily recounts the evening in rich detail, embracing the culinary details as well as the larger story of President Washington's quarrelsome cabinet, the evolution of the dual party system, and Jefferson's emergence as a persuasive national leader." (Library Journal, February 1, 2008)

It was 1790, and Thomas Jefferson and one of his dinner guests, James Madison, were determined to work out a political compromise critical to the nation’s future with their third dinner companion (and political opponent), Alexander Hamilton. This gathering around Jefferson’s celebrated table involved nothing less than the creation of the young nation’s finances, foreign relations and the eventual location of its capital. The dinner’s results? An agreement that, Congress willing, the new government would assume the states’ war debts, issue bonds to fund the national debt and make the Potomac’s banks the capital’s permanent site. Congress agreed. Cerami (Jefferson’s Great Gamble) presents a fast-paced narrative of an event well-known but never told so brightly—nor at such unnecessary length. While Cerami puts the dinner-table agreement at his story’s center, it was but one of a number of seismic events, acts and decisions of the 1790s. Cerami slights many of those when he’s not giving us too much detail about other minor ones, such as Jefferson’s cooking recipes and a short disquisition (and a long document) on Hamilton’s role in the Coast Guard’s founding. Compression would have made this inherently fascinating story pack the punch it should. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470083062
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 798,279
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles A. Cerami is the author of several popular histories, including the New York Times extended bestseller Jefferson's Great Gamble, Young Patriots, Benjamin Banneker, and ten other books. He was formerly the foreign affairs editor at the Kiplinger Washington Editors, where he oversaw international subjects for the company's half-dozen weekly publications as well as for Changing Times. His articles have been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, the New York Times, and Foreign Policy.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1 Before the Clash.

2 An Old Friend’s Bombshell.

3 The Mounting Anger.

4 The Radical Conservative.

5 Aggressive Lobbying.

6 Thoughts of Breaking Up.

7 Jefferson’s Awakening.

8 A Country without a Capital.

9 Doubters and Believers.

10 Nearing a Decision on the Capital.

11 That Day on the Street.

12 Dinner at Secretary Jefferson’s.

13 The Philadelphia Story.

14 Doubts Settled, Doubts Revived.

15 Hamilton the Unstoppable?

16 Before the Fall.

17 From Brilliance to Disaster.

18 The Disappearing Cabinet.

19 One Heart and One Mind.

20 The Jefferson Factor.

Appendix A: Recipes from Monticello’s Kitchen.

Appendix B: Alexander Hamilton’s Letter to New Coast Guard Officers.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A MOMENTOUS EVENING REVISITED

    Many of us remember John F. Kennedy's now famous comment to a gathering , 'I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. ' History corroborates Mr. Kennedy's estimation of Jefferson's mental acuity but it does not recount how often Jefferson dined alone. Fortunately, what it does relate is the story of an evening when Jefferson hosted two guests for dinner - Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. This was a momentous time in our nation's history, and that evening is faithfully recalled by author/historian Charles A. Cerami in Dinner At Mr. Jefferson's. In 1790 Jefferson evidently decided to resolve differences and perhaps the best way to do it was over excellent food and fine wines. To that end he invited Hamilton and Madison to dinner. The host was correct - during that meal bargains were struck: the Federal government would be responsible for Revolutionary War debts, which pleased Hamilton, and the capital would be moved, which pleased Jefferson and Madison. While the crux of the evening is well known what delights is Cerami's description of those hours as he not only imagines the conversation but includes recipes for dishes served and notes wines enjoyed. A remarkable reading by voice performer William Dufris literally transports the listener to that eventful dinner. The winner of thirteen Earphones Awards and voted a 'Best Voice at the End of the Century' by AudioFile magazine, he delivers an estimable narration. - Gail Cooke

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    Posted January 8, 2009

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