In Pursuit of Reason: the Life of Thomas Jefferson: The Life of Thomas Jefferson

Overview

"A major contribution." Washington Post
The authoritative single-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most significant figure in American history. He was a complex and compelling man: a fervent advocate of democracy who enjoyed the life of a southern aristocrat and owned slaves, a revolutionary who became president, a believer in states' rights who did much to further the power of the federal government. Drawing on the recent explosion of Jeffersonian scholarship and fresh readings of original ...
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Overview

"A major contribution." Washington Post
The authoritative single-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most significant figure in American history. He was a complex and compelling man: a fervent advocate of democracy who enjoyed the life of a southern aristocrat and owned slaves, a revolutionary who became president, a believer in states' rights who did much to further the power of the federal government. Drawing on the recent explosion of Jeffersonian scholarship and fresh readings of original sources, IN PURSUIT OF REASON is a monument to Jefferson that will endure for generations.

Readers travel from the beginning of Jefferson's brilliant political career in Virginia in 1769 through to his presidency in 1800. In one concise volume are his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, his role as party leader and Secretary of State, and his triumphs and problems in revolutionary America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cunningham succeeds admirably in his biography of Jefferson, intended for both scholars and general readers. The University of Missouri historian conveys not only the details of Jefferson's career as a politician and polymath, but the evolution of his thinking as expressed in Notes on the State of Virginia and other writings. He shows that Jefferson's belief in ``the sufficiency of reason for the care of human affairs'' sustained his political principles and his faith in progress and education. Cunningham, author of earlier books on the man and his era (The Image of Thomas Jefferson in the Public Eye, etc.), writes well and with evident authority in this rich work. Photos not seen by PW. History Book Club main selection. (May 29)
Library Journal
Finally we have a sensible one-volume biography of America's most multifaceted Founding Father. Cunningham, an expert on Jefferson's politics and presidency, has admirably condensed the variegated life and tumultuous times into a manageable and readable book. Cunningham's Jefferson is a man occasionally given to emotional turmoilas on the death of his wife and his flirtation with Maria Coswaybut mainly he is a personification of the Enlightenment's faith in human reason, progress, and education. It is a traditional interpretation, even conservativeJefferson's faults and mistakes are downplayed or excusedbut consistent with the weight of academic evidence. This is now the beginning biography for students and scholars alike. History Book Club main selection. Harry W. Fritz, History Dept., Univ. of Montana, Missoula
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345353801
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1988
  • Series: Southern Biography Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 941,451
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Low-luster presentation of Jefferson with little pizazz

    As much as I wanted to love this book, its difficult given the somewhat boring delivery of the facts. Even the 'exciting events' are delivered in a drab and flat tone. Having just finished David McCullough's "John Adams" in which some of the same events were discussed as in this book, I can say I was disappointed to have finished reading a paragraph or section and then realize I had just read what was so interestingly delivered by McCullough. So, Cunningham is no McCullough; however, there are numerous other events that I thought deserved some commentary or explanation, but often its not provided.
    I'm glad I read the book, though its not one you'll stay up late to get through. Plenty of facts, with much emphasis on Jefferson's battle with Hamilton and other Federalists.
    I'm frustrated by the misleading reviews of this book by what appears to be 'publisher trolls' out to hype their own books. Don't believe this is a 5-Star that every 18-year old should read. LOL, its not that earth shattering.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2002

    Where's the reason?

    We think politics are partisan today. They are. But, they were just as bad in Jefferson's day. The difference is that here was a man who constantly educated himself and the American people asking us all to pursue reason as the means to analyze and decide critical issues. If every 18 year-old read just this one book, he or she would forever be equipped to think critically about society's issues. Imagine that!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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