Francis D. Cogliano, University of Edinburgh, Author of Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy
"Brian Steele's new book makes the most compelling case to date for Thomas Jefferson's central importance to American national mythology and history, offering fresh and crucially important insights to our understanding of his political thought and statecraft. Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood is a major contribution to the rich literature on the author of the Declaration of Independence."
Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia, Author of Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood
"Steele brilliantly dissects Jefferson's complex relationship with America, portraying American nationhood not just as the intellectual product of a great mind but as the love of Jefferson's life. Some of the enduring Jeffersonian paradoxes - his cosmopolitanism and his patriotism, his defense of local prerogative, and his embrace of government power - are rendered newly intelligible in this elegant and forceful argument for nationhood as a defining obsession in Jefferson's thought."
Paul Quigley, University of Edinburgh
"Was Thomas Jefferson a localist or a nationalist? Did he give his first allegiance to Virginia or to the United States of America? How is he to be situated with regard to the nullificationists of 1832 and the secessionists of 1860? These have long been disputed questions, and in this volume Brian Steele addresses them in a manner not only forthright and eloquent but also scrupulous and rigorous. He will no doubt be attacked, but his argument cannot be ignored."
Paul A. Rahe, Hillsdale College
"It would be hard to deny that Jefferson still matters to us today when we engage in our own acts of imagining America, and Steele's book, Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood, helps us to see where that story begins. In his absorbing and informative study, Steele shows himself to be an expert interpreter of the Jefferson canon, familiar and unfamiliar alike. Readers will come away from this book with an enhanced appreciation of Jefferson's many ways of understanding America.
Herbert Sloan, Barnard College
"In the introduction to his work, Steele wondered if the world needed yet another book about Thomas Jefferson. He need not have worried. He has written an important study that requires the attention of all students of not only Jefferson but also the early republic itself."
J. C. A. Stagg, Virginia Magazine
"With unblinking clarity, he has given us a Jefferson that is capacious enough for renewed attention by a new generation of scholars and has delivered a must-read book."
Jeremy D. Bailey, Journal of the Early Republic
"Steele's Jefferson is much more complicated than a provincial Virginia planter with a cosmopolitan twist; he is the consummate architect of American nationalism precisely because he imagined and articulated a powerful understanding of Americans as a special people - a cultural and political nation - whose unique character transcended region or class and had universal significance."
Drew R. McCoy, Journal of Southern History