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"Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
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Liveright 2016
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New York Times Bestseller

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle

Finalist for the George Washington Prize

Finalist for the Library of Virginia Literary Award

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Selection


"An important book...[R]ichly rewarding. It is full of fascinating insights about Jefferson." —Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books


Hailed by critics and embraced by readers, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" is one of the richest and most insightful accounts of Thomas Jefferson in a generation. Following her Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello¸ Annette Gordon-Reed has teamed with Peter S. Onuf to present a provocative and absorbing character study, "a fresh and layered analysis" (New York Times Book Review) that reveals our third president as "a dynamic, complex and oftentimes contradictory human being" (Chicago Tribune). Gordon-Reed and Onuf fundamentally challenge much of what we thought we knew, and through their painstaking research and vivid prose create a portrait of Jefferson, as he might have painted himself, one "comprised of equal parts sun and shadow" (Jane Kamensky).

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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/13/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781631490781
ASIN:
B00ZAT8WTM
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APA Citation (style guide)

Annette Gordon-Reed. (2016). "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. Liveright.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Annette Gordon-Reed. 2016. "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. Liveright.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Annette Gordon-Reed, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. Liveright, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Annette Gordon-Reed. "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. Liveright, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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New York Times Bestseller
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle
Finalist for the George Washington Prize
Finalist for the Library of Virginia Literary Award
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Selection

"An important book...[R]ichly rewarding. It is full of fascinating insights about Jefferson." —Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books

Hailed by critics and embraced by readers, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" is one of the richest and most insightful accounts of Thomas Jefferson in a generation. Following her Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello¸ Annette Gordon-Reed has teamed with Peter S. Onuf to present a provocative and absorbing character study, "a fresh and layered analysis" (New York Times Book Review) that reveals our third president as "a dynamic, complex and oftentimes contradictory human being" (Chicago Tribune). Gordon-Reed...

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fullDescription

New York Times Bestseller
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle
Finalist for the George Washington Prize
Finalist for the Library of Virginia Literary Award
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Selection

"An important book...[R]ichly rewarding. It is full of fascinating insights about Jefferson." —Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books

Hailed by critics and embraced by readers, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" is one of the richest and most insightful accounts of Thomas Jefferson in a generation. Following her Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello¸ Annette Gordon-Reed has teamed with Peter S. Onuf to present a provocative and absorbing character study, "a fresh and layered analysis" (New York Times Book Review) that reveals our third president as "a dynamic, complex and oftentimes contradictory human being" (Chicago Tribune). Gordon-Reed and Onuf fundamentally challenge much of what we thought we knew, and through their painstaking research and vivid prose create a portrait of Jefferson, as he might have painted himself, one "comprised of equal parts sun and shadow" (Jane Kamensky).

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: David O. Stewart;Washington Post
      • content: Ambitious...Gordon-Reed and Onuf rightly highlight Jefferson's ideas, words and charm, the strengths that brought him such success in his life and that have sustained his standing for centuries.
      • premium: False
      • source: Peter Baker;New York Times Book Review
      • content: A fresh and layered analysis, one centered more on [Jefferson's] interior life than his deeds for posterity...Gordon-Reed and Onuf are not the first to search for other ways into Jefferson's private place, nor will they be the last. But they have provided a smart and useful map for those who are certain to follow.
      • premium: False
      • source: Walton Muyumba;Chicago Tribune
      • content: Provocative...Gordon-Reed and Onuf employ their considerable historical and literary skills to collage an unconventional portrait of Jefferson...Few historians are as well suited to examine Jefferson in this manner...The Jefferson who emerges in these pages is a dynamic, complex and oftentimes contradictory human being.
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew C. Simpson;New Republic
      • content: In their search for understanding rather than for comfortable bromides, Gordon-Reed and Onuf exemplify a virtue that Jefferson admired, even though, in this case, it does not always tend to his advantage.
      • premium: False
      • source: Jeremy D. Bailey;San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: Given that Jefferson believed that no generation can have a rightful claim to govern another, it is fitting that Gordon-Reed and Onuf have given us a new and empowering perspective on the private and public life of one of our greatest Americans. It is a book with which the next generation can judge, and be enlightened by, Jefferson's words and deeds.
      • premium: False
      • source: Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
      • content: With characteristic insight and intellectual rigor, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf have produced a powerful and lasting portrait of the mind of Thomas Jefferson. This is an essential and brilliant book by two of the nation's foremost scholars—a book that will, like its protagonist, endure.
      • premium: False
      • source: Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality
      • content: A peerless team, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf pierce the mysteries of Jefferson's character and at last offer a compelling explanation of how the republican statesman and plantation patriarch could coexist in a single soul. Jefferson's flaw was not hypocrisy but conviction, his unswerving belief in paternalism as empowering and beneficent.
      • premium: False
      • source: Jane Kamensky, author of Copley: A Life in Color
      • content: This inspired collaboration takes us as close as we're likely to get to the way Thomas Jefferson understood himself and his times. Not content with clichés about a man who made his world anew, Gordon-Reed and Onuf show us the world that made the man.... Here is Jefferson as he might have painted his own image, a self-portrait comprised of equal parts sun and shadow.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from February 8, 2016
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2016
        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.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2015
        Gordon-Reed, here offering her first book in eight years since the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning "The Hemingses of Monticello", joins forces with Onuf, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, to offer a character study of Jefferson in all his contradictions. Thus do we discover Jefferson's "empire of the imagination."

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
popularity
219
publisher
Liveright
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