Thomas Jefferson

( 32 )

Overview

Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone, describing himself simply as "Author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia." It is in this simple epitaph that R.B. Bernstein finds the key to this enigmatic Founder -- not as a great political figure, but as leader of "a revolution of ideas that would make the world over again." In Thomas Jefferson, Bernstein offers the definitive short biography of this revered American -- the ...
See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.90
BN.com price
(Save 35%)$19.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (31) from $5.99   
  • New (10) from $11.68   
  • Used (21) from $5.99   
Thomas Jefferson

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$13.99 List Price

Overview

Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone, describing himself simply as "Author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia." It is in this simple epitaph that R.B. Bernstein finds the key to this enigmatic Founder -- not as a great political figure, but as leader of "a revolution of ideas that would make the world over again." In Thomas Jefferson, Bernstein offers the definitive short biography of this revered American -- the first concise life in six decades. Bernstein deftly synthesizes the massive scholarship on his subject into a swift, insightful, evenhanded account. Here are all of Jefferson's triumphs, contradictions, and failings, from his luxurious (and debt-burdened) life as a Virginia gentleman to his passionate belief in democracy, from his tortured defense of slavery to his relationship with Sally Hemings. Jefferson was indeed multifaceted -- an architect, inventor, writer, diplomat, propagandist, planter, party leader -- and Bernstein explores all these roles even as he illuminates Jefferson's central place in the American enlightenment, that "revolution of ideas" that did so much to create the nation we know today. Together with the less well-remembered points in Jefferson's thinking -- the nature of the Union, his vision of who was entitled to citizenship, his dread of debt (both personal and national) -- they form the heart of this lively biography. In this marvel of compression and comprehension, we see Jefferson more clearly than in the massive studies of earlier generations. More important, we see, in Jefferson's visionary ideas, the birth of the nation's grand sense of purpose.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
It is authoritative, judicious, clearly written and remarkably complete for a text that covers fewer than 200 pages. It is the best short biography of Jefferson ever written, and is highly recommended for those who want a brief and historically reliable account of this incredibly complicated character. — Gordon S. Wood
Publishers Weekly
And still they come, these biographies of Thomas Jefferson-so many, in fact, that it's sometimes hard to tell them apart. But not this one. Veteran historian Bernstein (Amending America, etc.) pulls off a remarkable feat: he writes of Jefferson and his "ambiguous legacies" with utter serenity, detachment and balance. He takes no sides and offers no particular arguments about the man. Instead, in prose of the utmost directness and clarity, Bernstein simply lays out the great founder's life in all its complexities, achievements and, at the end, ruin-by which he means not only Jefferson's late-life financial plight but also his sad conviction that a new generation had become unfaithful to "his" Revolution. The acid test these days for partisan or skeptical biographers of Jefferson is how to present his relationship with his slave Sally Hemings. In a characteristic example of his evenhandedness, Bernstein treats the controversy in a concise summary, then tells us what is now known of the relationship and what cannot yet be determined. One comes to trust the author as a guide, not a polemicist. In fact, it's precisely because Bernstein reveals nothing new and argues not at all that anyone wanting to brush up on Jefferson's life or gain exposure to the latest findings about it will find this book of huge value. It will be most valuable to those seeking an introduction to Jefferson's life and achievements. There's little doubt that the book will become the standard brief one-volume biography of someone who was "the leading spokesman for the revolution of ideas that changed... the face of America and the world." (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Bernstein (law, NYU; Are We To Be a Nation?) has produced a readable biography of a leading figure of the young American nation. He effectively weaves together information on Jefferson's planter background, emergence as a leading thinker of the Independence era, ongoing struggle to balance his personal life with public responsibility as his nation emerged, and eventual service as the third President. The author is especially adept at placing Jefferson's accomplishments in context without oversimplifying them, which in a book only 250 pages long and aimed primarily at general readers is an impressive feat. If any significant problem can be found, it lies with Bernstein's desire to squeeze too much of his subject's prodigious scholarship into his own pages. Nonetheless, this work is recommended particularly for public libraries and other general collections. [Bernstein's is by no means the last word on the Sage of Monticello this season, with Michael Knox Beran's Jefferson's Demons (Free Pr., Oct.) and Garry Wills's "Negro President" (Houghton, Nov.) still to come.-Ed.]-Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"The best short biography of Jefferson ever written...highly recommended for those who want a brief and historically reliable account of this incredibly complicated character.... Authoritative, judicious, clearly written and remarkably complete."--Gordon S. Wood, The New York Times Book Review

"Bernstein's Jefferson is a brilliant success. There is nothing like it in the literature."--Peter Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History, University of Virginia

"Here, in just 200 pages of text, is an eminently readable, insightful and fair account of the life and times of the third president of the United States.... Bernstein's book [is] lucid, fascinating."--Roanoke Times

"R. B. Bernstein has produced a fascinating, extremely intelligent examination of the life of Thomas Jefferson. With a clear eye and deft historical touch, Bernstein reminds us why studying Jefferson and his world will always remain central to understanding the development of the American character."--Annette Gordon-Reed, author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy

"Veteran historian Bernstein pulls off a remarkable feat: he writes of Jefferson and his 'ambiguous legacies' with utter serenity, detachment and balance.... In prose of the utmost directness and clarity, Bernstein simply lays out the great founder's life in all its complexities, achievements and, at the end, ruin.... Anyone wanting to brush up on Jefferson's life or gain exposure to the latest findings about it will find this book of huge value. It will be most valuable to those seeking an introduction to Jefferson's life and achievements. There's little doubt that the book will become the standard brief one-volume biography of someone who was 'the leading spokesman for the revolution of ideas that changed...the face of America and the world.'"--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Two-time Pulitzer nominee Bernstein has produced a readable biography of a leading figure of the young American nation. The author is especially adept at placing Jefferson's accomplishments in context without oversimplifying them, which in a book only about 250 pages long and aimed primarily at general readers is an impressive feat....This work is recommended particularly for public libraries and other general collections. -- Library Journal

"Bernstein has brought as much clarity to a famously elusive subject as anyone can, and he's done it all at concise, readable length."--Christian Science Monitor

"However crowded the TJ shelf, libraries should allow room for Bernstein's compact, competent contribution. -- Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"It is difficult to be objective about Thomas Jefferson, but this book succeeds wonderfully. Neither attacking Jefferson for his sins nor lauding him for his accomplishments, Thomas Jefferson does equal justice to Jefferson's political, intellectual, and personal life in a concise biography that can be enjoyed by all. Bernstein has given us an admirably balanced life in context."--Joanne B. Freeman, Professor of History, Yale University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195181302
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 344,483
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

R. B. Bernstein is Adjunct Professor of Law at the New York Law School and director of online operations at Heights Books, Inc. The author or editor of eighteen books on American constitutional history, including Are We to Be a Nation? and Amending America (both nominees for the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Parkman Prizes), he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
1 A Young Gentleman of Virginia (1743-1774) 1
2 "We hold these truths ..." (1763-1776) 15
3 The Hard Work of Revolution (1776-1784) 36
4 "Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe!" (1784-1789) 55
5 "The parties styled republican and federal" (1789-1793) 81
6 Touching Earth (1794-1797) 105
7 "The reign of witches" (1797-1801) 117
8 "We are all republicans, we are all federalists" (1801-1805) 135
9 "A splendid misery" (1805-1809) 158
10 Enthusiasm and Anguish (1809-1826) 170
Epilogue: "Take care of me when dead..." 191
Notes 199
Chronology 229
Bibliographical Essay 235
Index 244
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2003

    Want to know Jefferson? Read this first.

    THOMAS JEFFERSON is an impressive accomplishment. Bernstein's masterly grasp of our third president's life and legacy allows him to peel back Jefferson's accomplishments and ambiguities layer by layer, while respecting the essential mystery at the core of his being. Generalists will hail this thorough and concise account of this multifaceted individual. Historians will appreciate Bernstein's meticulous use of source materials, his thorough familiarity with the latest scholarship, and his professional detatchment (unlike so many, this author does not obscure Jefferson with his own agenda, preferring to let his sources speak). As a wordsmith as well as an historian, I particularly relished how this book elicits one of America's greatest writers in language both incisive and elegant.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    Good for historical, biographical readers.

    Interesting facts and history regarding a great man that helped America to become a great nation.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Lily

    Amazing

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    savannah

    At school im watching a show called liberty's kids

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)