Thomas Jefferson by R. B. BernsteinThomas Jefferson by R. B. Bernstein

Thomas Jefferson

byR. B. Bernstein

Paperback | August 12, 2005

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Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone, describing himself simply as "Author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia." It is in this simple epitaph that R.B. Bernstein finds the key to this enigmaticFounder--not as a great political figure, but as leader of "a revolution of ideas that would make the world over again." In Thomas Jefferson, Bernstein offers the definitive short biography of this revered American--the first concise life in six decades. Bernstein deftly synthesizes the massive scholarship on his subject into a swift, insightful, evenhanded account. Here are all of Jefferson's triumphs,contradictions, and failings, from his luxurious (and debt-burdened) life as a Virginia gentleman to his passionate belief in democracy, from his tortured defense of slavery to his relationship with Sally Hemings. Jefferson was indeed multifaceted--an architect, inventor, writer, diplomat,propagandist, planter, party leader--and Bernstein explores all these roles even as he illuminates Jefferson's central place in the American enlightenment, that "revolution of ideas" that did so much to create the nation we know today. Together with the less well-remembered points in Jefferson'sthinking--the nature of the Union, his vision of who was entitled to citizenship, his dread of debt (both personal and national)--they form the heart of this lively biography. In this marvel of compression and comprehension, we see Jefferson more clearly than in the massive studies of earlier generations. More important, we see, in Jefferson's visionary ideas, the birth of the nation's grand sense of purpose.
R. B. Bernstein is Adjunct Professor of Law at the New York Law School and director of online operations at Heights Books, Inc. The author or editor of eighteen books on American constitutional history, including Are We to Be a Nation? and Amending America (both nominees for the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Parkman Prizes), he lives in Bro...
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Title:Thomas JeffersonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.31 × 7.91 × 0.59 inPublished:August 12, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195181301

ISBN - 13:9780195181302

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Editorial Reviews

"R.B. Bernstein's Thomas Jefferson may be the best short biography of the founder ever written One could spend whole books trying to explain the body of Jefferson's thought; indeed many scholars have. Wisely, Bernstein has chosen to show us ideas in action. Sometimes less is more, and in thisvery fine biography, R.B. Bernstein has succeeded in showing Jefferson's greatness and complexity and the tumultuousness of the times."--Political Science Quarterly Jan Ellen Lewis, Department of History, Rutgers University, Newark