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  • Hardcover
  • $35.00 / $45.50 CAN
  • ISBN 13: 9780465094684

"In a narrative as majestic as its subject, Boles takes a fresh, nuanced look at one of the America's most enigmatic founding fathers... Boles, an accomplished scholar well versed in the source material, deftly paints a picture of the world as Jefferson knew it, taking care not to mix up understanding with excusing, especially with the Virginian's relationship with Sally Hemings. This is a gem of a biography."
--Publishers Weekly

"A fully fleshed biography of Thomas Jefferson that emphasizes his creative paradoxes and accomplishments... A stately, knowledgeable study."
--Kirkus Reviews

"John Boles's deeply researched and judiciously balanced Jefferson is an exemplary biography. Animated by a warm and wise admiration for a great American, Boles never loses sight of Jefferson's limitations and failures-or of his extraordinary achievements."
--Peter Onuf, University of Virginia, and coauthor, with Annette Gordon-Reed, of 'Most Blessed of the Patriarchs': Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

"John Boles's Jefferson is learned, fluent, sensitive, and magnificently detailed. It gives due attention to the intellectual currents and social circumstances that made Jefferson who he was, and its careful engagement with the complexities of slavery is convincingly integrated into the whole. Professor Boles has earned an eminent place for himself in the ever-active field of Jefferson studies."
--Andrew Burstein, author of Jefferson's Secrets and coauthor of Madison and Jefferson

"In this exhaustively researched and gracefully written biography, John B. Boles reassesses Jefferson's achievements and shortcomings, situating his remarkable life story in the larger history of his extraordinary times. Admiring but critical, Boles's Jefferson is a next-generation biography of one of the more complicated-and controversial-of America's founding fathers."
--Cynthia A. Kierner, author of Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello

"An authoritative new biography of Jefferson, Boles interprets his subject in terms of his own time and place, with Jefferson emerging as a greater champion of the people's government than the more elitist Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. Based on original sources and the latest scholarly work, it is a welcome addition to the literature by an author who has spent many years working and thinking about Jefferson."
--Andrew O'Shaughnessy, Vice President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello) and author of The Men Who Lost America

Jefferson

Architect of American Liberty

By (author) John B. Boles

"Magisterial... Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty is perhaps the finest one-volume biography of an American president." --Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

From an eminent scholar of the American South, the first full-scale biography of Thomas Jefferson since 1970

As Alexander Hamilton's star has risen, Thomas Jefferson's has fallen, largely owing to their divergent views on race. Once seen as the most influential American champion of liberty and democracy, Jefferson is now remembered largely for his relationship with his slave Sally Hemmings, and for electing not to free her or most of the other people he owned.

In this magisterial biography, the eminent scholar John B. Boles does not ignore the aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today, but strives to see him in full, and to understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We follow Jefferson from his early success as an abnormally precocious student and lawyer in colonial Virginia through his drafting of the Declaration of Independence at age 33, his travels in Europe on the eve of the French Revolution, his acidic personal battles with Hamilton, his triumphant ascent to the presidency in 1801, his prodigious efforts to found the University of Virginia, and beyond.

From Jefferson's inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, Boles explores Jefferson's expansive intellectual life, and the profound impact of his ideas on the world. Boles overturns conventional wisdom at every turn, arguing, among other things, that Jefferson did not--as later southerners would--deem the states rightfully superior to the federal government. Yet Boles's view is not limited to politics and public life; we also meet Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, and gourmet--as well as Jefferson the gentle father and widower, doting on his daughters and longing for escape from the rancorous world of politics.

As this authoritative, evenhanded portrait shows, Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all.
John B. Boles is the William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University and the former editor of the Journal of Southern History. He lives in Houston, Texas.

Also By (author) John B. Boles

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