Mr. Jefferson's University

Mr. Jefferson's University

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by Garry Wills
     
 

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In the paperback edition of the critically acclaimed hardcover, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Garry Wills explores Thomas Jefferson's final and favorite achievement, the University of Virginia.

The University of Virginia is one of America's greatest architectural treasures and one of Thomas Jefferson's proudest achievements. At his request his… See more details below

Overview

In the paperback edition of the critically acclaimed hardcover, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Garry Wills explores Thomas Jefferson's final and favorite achievement, the University of Virginia.

The University of Virginia is one of America's greatest architectural treasures and one of Thomas Jefferson's proudest achievements. At his request his headstone says nothing of his service as America's first Secretary of State or its third President. It says simply: "Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia." For this political genius was a supremely gifted artist as well, and of all Jefferson's stunning accomplishments, the school he built in Charlottesville is perhaps the most perfect expression of the man himself: as leader, as architect, and as philosopher.

In this engrossing, perceptive book, Garry Wills once again displays the keen intelligence and eloquent style that have won him great critical praise as he explores the creation of a masterpiece, tracing its evolution from Jefferson's idea of an "academical village" into a classically beautiful campus. Mr. Jefferson's University is at once a wonderful chronicle of the birth of a national institution and a deft portrait of the towering American who brought it to life.

"There is much auspicious history to explore here, and Wills does so with great narrative skills." —Richmond Times-Dispatch

"His command of the subject is formidable." —Los Angeles Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Skilled historians have a way of making the past seem more vivid than the present, and Wills (whose Lincoln at Gettysburg won a Pulitzer) is no exception. His new book is part of National Geographic's series devoted to travel writing (other titles include Oliver North on Oaxaca and A.M. Homes on L.A.), though it doesn't quite feel like it belongs. Wills is far nimbler at describing the hurdles Thomas Jefferson faced while constructing the "academical village" of his dreams, the University of Virginia, than he is at imparting any real sense of what a visit to the finished product is like. Jefferson employed a fair amount of diplomatic and legislative trickery along the project's course-fending off competition from the burgeoning College of William and Mary (his alma mater), deflecting criticism over not having a chapel or professor of divinity, and enlisting the advice of such esteemed fellow architects as Benjamin Latrobe. Describing these various tasks is by far Wills's strongest gift, and he's wise to devote as much of the book to them as he does. (An early chapter describing the central buildings one by one, while well reasoned, feels a bit obligatory.) Visitors to the Charlottesville campus may not glean much in the way of practical information from Wills's tour of the university, but they'll have a much deeper appreciation for how it got there. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426201813
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
06/12/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
791,186
File size:
1 MB

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