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Thomas Jefferson: A Life by Willard Sterne…

Thomas Jefferson: A Life (original 1993; edition 1993)

by Willard Sterne Randall

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Title:Thomas Jefferson: A Life
Authors:Willard Sterne Randall
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (1993), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 736 pages
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Thomas Jefferson: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall (1993)



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One interesting thing about this book is that you go quite far (about 80%) before you get to Jefferson's presidency. That's kind of strange, although perhaps that choice was made because his time as a lawyer and in Virginia politics really shaped his legacy. It still felt incomplete, though, to have such a small section devoted to that. I did enjoy learning more about his marriage and personal life. I didn't realize that he experienced so many losses and that his wife was in such ill health. He seemed very devoted to her, and was much affected by her difficulties.

Some serious editing could have been used in the book - I often found myself thinking, "Didn't I already read this quote?" or "Why is he telling me this again?" Perhaps with that editing, more time could have been spent on the presidential years. Also, the author is thoroughly anti-the Sally Hemings relationship, dismissing it out of hand. The book was written before DNA tests were done, but even so, Randall considered it ridiculous and barely mentions the possibility.

Overall, a good book about Jefferson although over-long and occasionally a bit of a slog. ( )
1 vote ursula | Aug 29, 2014 |
What a monumental personality. Like Franklin, very much a renaiissance man with his scientific, political, artistic pursuits. A highly evolved intellect contained in a non-confrontational package (unlike his friend John Adams) though with a deceptively conyving personality. A lover of French cuisine, classical architecture, horticulture, the natural sciences, arts, philosophy, diplomacy, commerce; and a magnificent legal mind. The one achilles heal, and he knew it, was his being a slave holder. although, conficted about its evils, still unable to freee his own. ( )
1 vote dannywon | Jun 15, 2011 |
In my opinion, I believe that this book should be rated right up there with the top Thomas Jefferson Bio’s out on the market today. The author wrote the biography of Thomas Jefferson in such a way that made reading interesting and comprehensible. The book covers the span of Jefferson’s life and pays close attention to Jefferson’s contributions to the founding of our country during his stay in Paris. If you haven’t read any books on Jefferson I would eagerly recommend this book by Mr. Randall. ( )
1 vote RudyJohnson | Mar 3, 2011 |
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At the age of seventy-seven, when Thomas Jefferson sat down to write the story of his life, he said that his earliest memory was of being handed up to a slave on horseback and carried on a pillow from his father's frontier farm in Albemarle County, Virginia, to a far wealthier plantation fifty miles to the east near Richmond.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060976179, Paperback)

A biography of Thomas Jefferson, who despite his legendary intelligence and political savvy, could be ruthless, not to mention lawless, in his efforts to preserve his causes. Jefferson operated on two levels, as his opposition to slavery as a slaveowner attests. But as Willard Sterne Randall argues, this duality is what made him so effective. Whether Jefferson's 1784 draft of Virginia's constitution "prefigured the founding documents of republics in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, as well as the Confederate States of America," as Randall claims, is questionable, but his impact on international trade, diplomatic discussions and the success of the state of Virginia cannot be disputed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:26 -0400)

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George Washington is the story of a man who turned an impoverished childhood and frequent humiliations at the hands of the mother he feared into a career of rebellion and creation. He learned from the British commanders who rejected him during his days on the frontier how to fight a war of rebellion. When he had worn out and nearly bankrupted his soldiers and his allies, Washington disbanded the victorious army he had forged and resigned to Congress, giving life to democratic government. George III once said that Washington would be the greatest man of the eighteenth century if he could give up power. And he did. Twice.A backwoods fighter before and during the French and Indian War, he employed a largely ragtag army of volunteers and the tactics of guerrilla warfare to defeat the world's most feared military power. His maneuvers to escape direct confrontation would be studied years later and serve as a model for Ho Chi Minh's field commanders in Vietnam. And, most important, as this fresh and authoritative narrative reveals, he exhibited the temperament for leadership in war and in peace, while suffering scoundrels, hardships, and a rogue press bent on his destruction.… (more)

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