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The Resource "Most blessed of the patriarchs" : Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf

"Most blessed of the patriarchs" : Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf

Label
"Most blessed of the patriarchs" : Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination
Title
"Most blessed of the patriarchs"
Title remainder
Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination
Statement of responsibility
Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf
Title variation
Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination
Creator
Contributor
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
Jefferson was a man so riven with contradictions that he is almost impossible to know. Gordon-Reed and Onuf dispel the many clichés that have accrued over the years, and trace his philosophical development from youth to old age. In doing so, they challenge much of what we have come to accept about Jefferson, and reintroduce us to a man more gifted than most, but complicated in just the ways we all are
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Gordon-Reed, who won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello, and Onuf (The Mind of Thomas Jefferson), professor emeritus of history at the University of Virginia, probe the paradoxical figure of the third president, unpacking what Jefferson himself “thought he was doing in the world.” They neither indict nor absolve Jefferson; instead, they aim to make sense of his contradictions for modern sensibilities by mining familiar texts, as well as his actions as a Virginia plantation owner and American ambassador to France. Although considered progressive for his time, Jefferson was fully cognizant of the hypocrisy of owning slaves while fighting for liberation from Great Britain. Jefferson’s immersion in revolutionary France tempered his attitudes toward slavery, but did not persuade him to abandon it. He made his peace with this moral dilemma by striving to be the “kindest of masters.” The authors reveal what plantation family life meant to Jefferson and explain how his notoriously poor plantation management shaped the lives of Monticello’s enslaved people. They also offer fresh insights into his attitudes about privacy and religion, and his relationships with his wife, Martha, and his slave Sally Hemings. In seeking to reconcile the various strands of Jeffersonian thought and action, Gordon-Reed and Onuf have produced a fascinating addition to the Jefferson canon. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed 02/08/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 06, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon-Reed (law, Harvard Law Sch.; The Hemingses of Monticello) and Onuf (history, Univ. of Virginia; The Mind of Thomas Jefferson) bring their qualified expertise to present an intimate portrait of Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the third U.S. president. This work begins with an interesting discussion drawn from a letter composed by Jefferson's granddaughter regarding the early yet glaring differences between North and South. The authors set the issue of slavery, and Jefferson's direct connection to it, as a central theme, allowing readers to follow Jefferson through the stages of his life, all the while observing the changes in his thinking and the complicated relationships on his estate. Jefferson the paradox shines through on these pages: the plantation master who knew slavery was wrong, the revolutionary who avoided conflict, and the patriarch who advanced republicanism. Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings and their children are thoroughly examined. This work emphasizes ideas and connections, as opposed to dates, policy details, and data. Primary source citations include many letters and Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia. VERDICT Readers of American history and politics will enjoy this enlightening look at a fascinating man. [See Prepub Alert, 10/19/15.] --Jeffrey Meyer (Reviewed 02/15/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 3, p118)
  • A portrait of Thomas Jefferson's passionate belief in Enlightenment values and how it determined his personal character and that of the young nation. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Gordon-Reed (American Legal History/Harvard Law School; The Hemingses of Monticello, 2009, etc.) and Onuf (Emeritus, History/Univ. of Virginia; The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, 2007, etc.) are fascinated by the many shifting "selves" of Jefferson: father, husband, slave owner, diplomat, politician, and cosmopolitan. His broad sense of himself as "the most blessed of patriarchs" is both a beautiful notion and mostly correct as well as a patronizing illusion considering that he was the master of numerous slaves at his Monticello plantation and, literally, their father. In this meticulously documented work exploring Jefferson's many roles in life, the authors take the great man at his word rather than how they think he ought to be: "We instead seek to understand what Thomas Jefferson thought he was doing in the world." Subsequently, the work proves to be a subtle, intriguing study of his Enlightenment ideals, beginning with his great hope in his fellow white Virginians as the ideal republicans who (with his help) abolished primogeniture, possessed a "fruitful attachment to land," and "knitted together…tender attachments," such as strategic arranged marriages among the upper class. However, his vision was problematic since he and his observant granddaughter Ellen, who lived for a spell in the North, documented well the differences between the slothful Southern temperament and the Northern industrious one, while the ills of slavery, which Jefferson himself wrote about in Notes on the State of Virginia, would not go away—and indeed, his own ties to the Hemingses could not be hidden. The authors make some trenchant observations regarding the effects of living in France on Jefferson's tempering of the republican ideals, in showing him both the dangers of extremism and the hope of "ameliorating" his slaves' conditions by incorporating them into his patriarchal family. An elegant, astute study that is both readable and thematically rich.(Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2016)
Biography type
contains biographical information
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10481657
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Gordon-Reed, Annette
Dewey number
973.4/6092
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Onuf, Peter S.
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Jefferson, Thomas
  • Jefferson, Thomas
Target audience
adult
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination
Label
"Most blessed of the patriarchs" : Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn909974634
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xxv, 370 pages
Isbn
9780871404428
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016000927
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
(OCoLC)909974634
Label
"Most blessed of the patriarchs" : Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn909974634
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xxv, 370 pages
Isbn
9780871404428
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2016000927
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
(OCoLC)909974634

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