Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives)

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9780060598969: Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives)

In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father. Situating Jefferson within the context of America's evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years, Hitchens brings the character of Jefferson to life as a man of his time and also as a symbolic figure beyond it.

Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.

Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense.

In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.

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Product Description:

Leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of America’s founding father, situating Jefferson within the context of America’s evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years.

Whether in politics, literature, science or the arts, the subjects of this dynamic series of brief biographies have shaped our picture of the world. The authors' strong sensibilities and sharp, lively points of view make us see that picture in a totally new way. The key to the ‘Eminent Lives’ series is the pairing of author and subject: distinguished writers on figures central to world culture.

An eloquent writer, Thomas Jefferson was an awkward public speaker and a reluctant candidate; nevertheless he left an indelible presidential legacy. He penned the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America’s development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property.

In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the 18th-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in world history and the ambiguities of human nature.

Product Description:

HardCover. Pub the Date: May. 2005 Pages: 208 in Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers In the this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson. Leading journalist and withsocial critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and plane suddenly went interpretation of our Founding Father. Situating of Jefferson within the context of America's evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years. Hitchens ings the character of Jefferson to life as a man of his time and also as a symbolic figure beyond it.Conflicted by power. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development. this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer. h...

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