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

Overview

Cerami wittily recounts the evening in rich detail.
Library Journal

Only two guests were invited to what was arguably the most elegant, sumptuous, and important dinner party that Thomas Jefferson ever hosted. Each course was prepared and laid out in advance so that no servants would enter the dining room to disrupt conversation and overhear random remarks, which they might later repeat to others. Privacy was imperative. Jefferson believed that...

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Overview

Cerami wittily recounts the evening in rich detail.
Library Journal

Only two guests were invited to what was arguably the most elegant, sumptuous, and important dinner party that Thomas Jefferson ever hosted. Each course was prepared and laid out in advance so that no servants would enter the dining room to disrupt conversation and overhear random remarks, which they might later repeat to others. Privacy was imperative. Jefferson believed that the very future of the United States of America depended on convincing Alexander Hamilton to agree to a compromise he and Madison were proposing on two issues that threatened to tear the young republic apart.

Plying his guests with the fine wine and exquisite cuisine only a former ambassador to France could provide, Jefferson set the stage for a compromise that enabled the federal government to pay its debts, both domestic and foreign, and make the American dollar "as good as gold."

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 wonderful illustrations of 1790s New York, then the nation's capital. It is a feast not to be missed for lovers of American history, fine dining, and a compelling true story well told.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470450444
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 937,454
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (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 other books.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Before the Clash 3

2 An Old Friend's Bombshell 15

3 The Mounting Anger 27

4 The Radical Conservative 41

5 Aggressive Lobbying 51

6 Thoughts of Breaking Up 61

7 Jefferson's Awakening 75

8 A Country without a Capital 85

9 Doubters and Believers 95

10 Nearing a Decision on the Capital 107

11 That Day on the Street 117

12 Dinner at Secretary Jefferson's 125

13 The Philadelphia Story 139

14 Doubts Settled, Doubts Revived 149

15 Hamilton the Unstoppable? 159

16 Before the Fall 171

17 From Brilliance to Disaster 179

18 The Disappearing Cabinet 193

19 One Heart and One Mind 209

20 The Jefferson Factor 221

Appendix A Recipes from Monticello's Kitchen 229

Appendix B Alexander Hamilton's Letter to New Coast Guard Officers 239

Notes 245

Bibliography 257

Index 261

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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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 8, 2009

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    Posted April 23, 2010

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