Jefferson

Overview

As he did with Presidents Jackson and Grant in those magnificent novels, Max Byrd now reveals Thomas Jefferson as we’ve never seen before. Byrd transports us to 1784, as Jefferson, the newly appointed American ambassador to the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, arrives in Paris—a city adrift in intrigue, upheaval, and temptation that will challenge his principles, incite his passions, and change him forever.
 
Through the eyes of ...
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Jefferson: A Novel

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Overview

As he did with Presidents Jackson and Grant in those magnificent novels, Max Byrd now reveals Thomas Jefferson as we’ve never seen before. Byrd transports us to 1784, as Jefferson, the newly appointed American ambassador to the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, arrives in Paris—a city adrift in intrigue, upheaval, and temptation that will challenge his principles, incite his passions, and change him forever.
 
Through the eyes of his impressionable young secretary, William Short, readers watch as the future president builds his dream of America with fellow patriots John Adams and Ben Franklin, while struggling between political ambition and an unexpected crisis of the heart with a woman who has the power to destroy him. Behind the face this complex Virginian shows the world, Thomas Jefferson is an enigmatic statesman who fights for individual liberty even as he keeps slaves, who champions free will even as he denies it to his daughters, and who holds men to the highest standards of honor—even as he embarks on a shadowy double life of his own.
 
“Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
 
Jefferson has the organic intimacy of a novel that has sprung full-blown from the imagination of its creator.”—The New York Times
 
“Superb . . . fascinating in the psychological insight it provides to one of the greatest Americans . . . a truly memorable book.”—W. Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Samuel Johnson and John Keats
 
“Absolutely splendid historical fiction that resonates with international, provincial, and individual passion and drama.”—Booklist
 
“A real tour de force.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Byrd's unforgettable glimpse into the public and private lives of patriot Thomas Jefferson captures a complex, ruthless and ultimately moving figure. Told in the voice of William Short, Jefferson's young secretary, the novel follows Jefferson as Ambassador to the Court of Louis XVI, where the upheavals of Paris forever mark the future President.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
 
Jefferson has the organic intimacy of a novel that has sprung full-blown from the imagination of its creator.”—The New York Times
 
“Superb . . . fascinating in the psychological insight it provides to one of the greatest Americans . . . a truly memorable book.”—W. Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Samuel Johnson and John Keats
 
“Absolutely splendid historical fiction that resonates with international, provincial, and individual passion and drama.”—Booklist
 
“A real tour de force.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Thomas Jefferson remains annoyingly distant from the reader in this disappointing novelization of his years in turbulent, pre-revolutionary France as ambassador of the fledgling U.S.A. Set mostly in Paris between 1785 and 1789, the novel centers on the observations of 28-year-old Virginian William Short, Jefferson's secretary and admiring protege. Intoxicated by Paris and awed by his patron, Short is somewhat out of his depth, dabbling in the art of biography while struggling with his own conflicting personal ambitions. Jefferson arrives in Paris as a figure of international renown to find the city smitten by compatriot Ben Franklin; when he departs to assume the office of Secretary of State under newly elected President Washington, Paris is awash in the bloodshed of revolution. Although Byrd includes interesting details of Jefferson's daily regimen and associations in Paris, the narrative shifts awkwardly from Short's voice to a third-person narrator who reveals the thoughts of Short and others, but never those of Jefferson. Some paradoxical aspects of Jefferson -- notably his attitudes toward slavery, women and religion -- are only cursorily explored.
From Barnes & Noble
This novel penetrates the facade of the enigmatic statesmen Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner who fought passionately for individual freedom and a man of principle who insisted on the highest standards of honor for others even as he embarked on his own shadowy double life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553379372
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 1,376,151
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Byrd is the acclaimed author of Jefferson, Jackson, Grant, Shooting the Sun, and many other novels. An authority on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American history, Byrd lives in Davis, California.
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