Product Detail

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Contributor(s):Meacham, Jon (Author)
 

ISBN: 1400067669   EAN: 9781400067664
Publisher: Random House
US SRP: $ 35.00 US 
Binding: Hardcover
Language(s): English
Pub Date: 11/13/2012

This item is Returnable



Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Biography & Autobiography | Presidents & Heads of State
- Biography & Autobiography | Historical | General
- History | United States | 19th Century
- Political Science | History & Theory | General
LC Subjects:
-Presidents -United States
-Politics and government -1783-1809
-Jefferson, Thomas
INGRAM Categories:
- Chronological Period | 18th Century
- Chronological Period | 1800-1850
Awards: Indies Choice Book Awards | Honor Book | Nonfiction | 2013 - 2013
Dewey: B
LC Call Number: E332
LCCN: 2012013700
Features: Price on Product, Illustrated, Bibliography, Index, Maps
Physical Info: 1.66" H x 9.45" L x 6.57" W (2.7 lbs) 800 pages
Carton Quantity: 10  

Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Publishers Weekly (07/16/2012):
Another Jefferson biography (right on the heels of Henry Wiencek's Master of the Mountain)! Fortunately, Meacham's is a fine work, deserving a place high on the list of long biographies of its subject even if rivaled by such shorter ones as Richard B. Bernstein's Thomas Jefferson. Like David McCullough's John Adams (to which it can be seen as a counterpart), Meacham's book is a love letter to its subject. While he's fully conversant with long-held skepticism about aspects of Jefferson's character (his dissimulation, for instance) and his stance toward slavery, Meacham gives him the benefit of the doubt throughout (on, for example, his Revolutionary War governorship of Virginia and the draconian 1807 embargo). To Meacham, who won a Pulitzer for his American Lion, Jefferson was a philosopher/politician, and "the most successful political figure of the first half century of the American republic." Those words only faintly suggest the inspirational tone of the entire work. Meacham understandably holds Jefferson up as the remarkable figure he was. But in the end, as fine a rendering of the nation's third president as this book may be, it comes too close to idolization. Jefferson's critics still have something valid to say, even if their voices here are stilled. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Nov.) Copyright 2012 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal (06/01/2012):
Executive editor of Random House, former editor of "Newsweek", and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Lion, plus other best sellers, Meacham has the wherewithal to write a big biography of our third President, especially with the subtitle "The Art of Power". He aims not to be critical/revisionist but instead to paint a full, birth-to-death portrait of Jefferson's political and intellectual accomplishments. Copyright 2012 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews (08/15/2012):
A Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer lauds the political genius of Thomas Jefferson. As a citizen, Jefferson became a central leader in America's rebellion against the world's greatest empire. As a diplomat, he mentored a similar revolution in France. As president, he doubled the size of the United States without firing a shot and established a political dynasty that stretched over four decades. These achievements and many more, Time contributing editor Meacham (American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, 2008, etc.) smoothly argues, would have been impossible if the endlessly complicated Jefferson were merely the dreamy, impractical philosopher king his detractors imagined. His portrait of our most enigmatic president intentionally highlights career episodes that illustrate Jefferson's penchant for balancing competing interests and for compromises that, nevertheless, advanced his own political goals. Born to the Virginia aristocracy, Jefferson effectively disguised his drive for control, charming foes and enlisting allies to conduct battles on his behalf. As he accumulated power, he exercised it ruthlessly, often deviating from the ideals of limited government he had previously--and eternally--articulated. Stronger than any commitment to abstract principle, the impulse for pragmatic political maneuvering, Meacham insists, always predominated. With an insatiable hunger for information, a talent for improvisation and a desire for greatness, Jefferson coolly calculated political realities--see his midlife abandonment of any effort to abolish slavery--and, more frequently than not, emerged from struggles with opponents routed and his own authority enhanced. Through his thinking and writing, we've long appreciated Jefferson's lifelong devotion to "the survival and success of democratic republicanism in America," but Meacham's treatment reminds us of the flesh-and-blood politician, the man of action who masterfully bent the real world in the direction of his ideals. An outstanding biography that reveals an overlooked steeliness at Jefferson's core that accounts for so much of his political success. COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Booklist (09/01/2012):
*Starred Review* Of the Founding Fathers, Washington remains unassailable in terms of character and leadership. Jefferson, on the other hand, has taken and continues to take hits from historians concerning his seeming hypocrisy in advocating the fundamental right of personal liberty. Meacham, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of American Lion (2008), a fresh estimation of Andrew Jackson, brings to bear his focused and sensitive scholarship, rich prose style, and acute sense of the need to ground his subject in time and place and observe him in his natural habitat. He must be seen in context, Meacham insists. The Jefferson that emerges from these astute, dramatic pages is a figure worthy of continued study and appreciation. He thirsted for power and greatness, butand this defines a consummate politicianhe understood that his goals could be achieved only by compromise. The survival of the American experiment in democracy was his abiding concern throughout his political career. Meacham carefully squares that with Jefferson's thinking about slavery by, again, placing those opinions within the conditions of the day. The reader leaves this very impressive book having been plunged fully into the whole Revolutionary eraspecifically, having gained a valuable sense of the uncertainty of the independence movement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive author tour and a national media campaign, as well as Meacham's reputation as the author of American Lion, will bring interested readers into the library.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

Library Journal (09/01/2012):
Pulitzer Prize-winner Meacham (executive editor & executive vice president, Random House; "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House") claims that previous Jefferson scholars have not grasped the authentic Jefferson. Meacham unmasks a power-hungry, masterful, pragmatic leader who was not above being manipulative to achieve his goal: an enduring, democratic republic defined by him. A brilliant philosopher whose lofty principles were sometimes sidelined for more realistic goals, Meacham's Jefferson, neither idol nor rogue, is a complex mortal with serious flaws and contradictions. Despite his dedication to human liberty, he would not impose practical measures to end slavery. Here, Jefferson's political instincts trumped his moral and philosophical beliefs, and he lived uncomfortably with that contradiction, believing that slavery would eventually end but unable to create a balance between human freedom and political unity. Meacham believes that what some recent writers have viewed as hypocrisy was actually genius. Failing to solve the conundrum of slavery, Jefferson creatively and successfully applied power, flexibility, and compromise in an imperfect world. VERDICT General and academic readers will find a balanced, engaging, and realistic treatment of the forces motivatingthe third President, the subject of unending fascination and debate. [See Prepub Alert, 5/10/12.]--Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Shelf Awareness (12/04/2012):

Thomas Jefferson was full of contradictions: philosopher and politician, thinker and farmer, writer of the Declaration of Independence and slave owner. Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion, clearly understands what a complicated man Jefferson was. In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Meacham tries neither to lionize nor to denigrate his subject but to present him as a man who sought ultimate good yet was willing to compromise in order to succeed. Fearing a monarchical revival, Jefferson spent decades fighting against a strong central government, which led to the creation of a two-party American political system that endures to this day.

As Meacham points out, although Jefferson hated confrontation, he almost always managed to get his way through his skillful application of intellect and intrigue. From his privileged childhood through his college days in Williamsburg; his governorship of Virginia; his terms as ambassador, secretary of state, vice president and president, Jefferson was always planning and scheming and one step ahead of most of the people around him.

Meacham's deft portrayal of Jefferson's character and personal life lends a humanity to Jefferson that is clear, even 200 years later. Meacham creates a vision of a man who was unmistakably a genius, gifted in the art of power, whose impact upon American history cannot be understated. COPYRIGHT(2012) Shelf Awareness, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Review Quotes:
"This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today."--DORIS KEARNS GODWIN, author of Team of Rivals

"Jon Meacham resolves the bundle of contradictions that was Thomas Jefferson by probing his love of progress and thirst for power. Here was a man endlessly, artfully intent on making the world something it had not been before. A thrilling and affecting portrait of our first philosopher-politician."--STACY SCHIFF, author of Cleopatra: A Life

"A true triumph. In addition to being a brilliant biography, this book is a guide to the use of power. Jon Meacham shows how Jefferson's deft ability to compromise and improvise made him a transformational leader. We think of Jefferson as the embodiment of noble ideals, as he was, but Meacham shows that he was a practical politician more than a moral theorist. The result is a fascinating look at how Jefferson wielded his driving desire for power and control."--WALTER ISAACSON, author of Steve Jobs

"This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written; it is certainly the most readable."--GORDON WOOD, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution

Review Quotes:
Advance praise for "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power"

"Jon Meacham resolves the bundle of contradictions that was Thomas Jefferson by probing his love of progress and thirst for power. This is a thrilling and affecting portrait of our first philosopher-politician."--Stacy Schiff
" "
"This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today."--Doris Kearns Goodwin
" "
""Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" is a true triumph, a brilliant biography. Jon Meacham shows how Jefferson's deft ability to compromise and improvise made him a transformational leader. We think of Jefferson as the embodiment of noble ideals, as he was, but Meacham shows that he was a practical politician more than a moral theorist. The result is a fascinating look at how Jefferson wielded his driving desire for power and control."--Walter Isaacson

"This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written."--Gordon S. Wood

"Jon Meacham understands Thomas Jefferson. With thorough and up-to-date research, elegant writing, deep insight, and an open mind, he brings Jefferson, the most talented politician of his generation--and one of the most talented in our nation's history--into full view. This is an extraordinary work."--Annette Gordon-Reed

Review Quotes:
Praise for "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power"
"Fascinating and insightful ... Many books have been written about Jefferson's life, but few have created such a vivid portrait ... Meacham immerses the reader in that period of history to explain Jefferson's behavior during an era when the nation was as contradictory as he was ... extraordinary ... essential."--"The Associated Press
"
"[A]ccomplishes something more impressive than dissecting Jefferson's political skills by explaining his greatness, a different task from chronicling a life, though he does that too -- and handsomely. Even though I know quite a lot about Jefferson, I was repeatedly surprised by the fresh information Meacham brings to his work. Surely there is not a significant detail out there, in any pertinent archive, that he has missed."--Joyce Appleby, "Washington Post
"
"[Meacham] argues persuasively that for Jefferson the ideal of liberty was not incompatible with a strong federal government, and also that Jefferson's service in the Congress in 1776 left him thoroughly versed in the ways and means of politics ... Meacham wisely has chosen to look at Jefferson through a political lens, assessing how he balanced his ideals with pragmatism while also bending others to his will. And just as he scolded Jackson, another slaveholder and champion of individual liberty, for being a hypocrite, so Meacham gives a tough-minded account of Jefferson's slippery recalibrations on race ... Where other historians have found hypocrisy in Jefferson's use of executive power to complete the Louisiana Purchase, Meacham is nuanced and persuasive.."--Jill Abramson, "The New York Times Book Review
"
"[Meacham] does an excellent job getting inside Jefferson's head and his world ... Meacham presents Jefferson's life in a textured narrative that weaves together Jefferson's well-traveled career."--"USA Today
"
"A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but

Biographical Note:
Jon Meacham is the author, most recently, of "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, "a #1 "New York Times" bestseller that has been named one of the best books of the year by "The New York Times Book Review, ""The Washington Post, ""Entertainment Weekly, ""The Seattle Times, "and the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch." Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for "American Lion, " his bestselling 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson. He is also the author of the "New York Times" bestsellers "Franklin and Winston" and "American Gospel." Executive editor and executive vice president of Random House, Meacham is a contributing editor to" Time" magazine, a former editor of "Newsweek, " and has written for "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post, " among other publications. He is a regular contributor on "Meet the Press, ""Morning Joe, " and "Charlie Rose." A Fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham serves on the boards of the New-York Historical Society, the Churchill Centre, and The McCallie School. He is a former trustee and regent of Sewanee: The University of the South, and has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Trinity Wall Street church in New York City. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at The McCallie School and at Sewanee: The University of the South, where he was salutatorian and Phi Beta Kappa. He began his career as a reporter at "The Chattanooga Times." He and his wife live with their three children in Nashville and in Sewanee.

Publisher Marketing:
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
"The New York Times Book Review - The Washington Post - Entertainment Weekly - The Seattle Times - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Bloomberg Businessweek"
In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "American Lion" and "Franklin and Winston" brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson's genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things--women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris--Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson's world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.
The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity--and the genius of the new nation--lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President's House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion.
The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.
Praise for "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power"
"This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written."--Gordon S. Wood
" "
"A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but also Jefferson the man, humanized as never before."--"Entertainment Weekly"
"[Meacham] captures who Jefferson was, not just as a statesman but as a man. . . . By the end of the book . . . the reader is likely to feel as if he is losing a dear friend. . . . [An] absorbing tale.""--The Christian Science Monitor"
"This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today."--Doris Kearns Goodwin

Review Citations:
  • Entertainment Weekly 11/09/2012 pg. 100 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Library Journal 06/01/2012 pg. 79 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Publishers Weekly 07/16/2012 pg. 158 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Kirkus Reviews 08/15/2012 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
  • Booklist 09/01/2012 pg. 29 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
  • Library Journal 09/01/2012 pg. 108 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • New York Times Book Review 11/11/2012 pg. 1 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • People Weekly 12/03/2012 pg. 55 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • New York Times Book Review 11/18/2012 pg. 26 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • NY Times Notable Bks of Year 12/02/2012 pg. 26 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Kirkus Best Nonfiction 12/01/2012 pg. 27 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Shelf Awareness 12/04/2012 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • Kirkus Reviews Fall Preview 08/15/2012 pg. 26 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
  • Booklist Editors Choice/Adult 01/01/2013 pg. 7 (EAN 9781400067664, Hardcover)
  • New York Times Book Review 11/10/2013 pg. 56 (EAN 9780812979480, Paperback)

Contributor Bio: Meacham, Jon
Jon Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, he is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The editor of Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, Meacham lives in New York City with his wife and son.


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