It is Finished
Re-reading The Last Battle

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of PowerThomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This latest biography of Jefferson was a Christmas gift from a friend. I'm grateful for the thoughtful gift, but was disappointed in the book.

Meacham wants to tell the story of Jefferson's mastery of political power, which resulted in the longest lasting political dynasty in our history. This is an interesting thesis. He also wants to restore some appreciation for Jefferson, which has suffered in the last few decades with confirmation of the relationship with Sally Hemmings and the spate of great biographies of the Federalist leaders Washington, Adams, and Hamilton.

Only in the afterword does he tell you that he has written a "portrait," that a more thorough biography of Jefferson and his times would take volumes. Hmm. Would have been nice to know this was the aim in the beginning, for I found the volume sorely lacking in historical narrative, detail, explanation, and analysis. More a series of vignettes and quotes from Jefferson or his contemporaries. Meacham seems to assume pretty good knowledge of most of the historical events and characters in the narrative, and, yes, I may know about them, but one wants to read about them again and learn something new.

And there was almost nothing new that I learned in this book.

View all my reviews


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)