Thomas Jefferson: Author of America
by Christopher Hitchens

Part of the Eminent Lives series Christopher Hitchens has written a great fairly short biography of Thomas Jefferson that examines the man warts and all. Off most interest to many these days will be his constant battle with his conscience versus the practicality of freeing all the slaves in the South.

That while this is meant to be a short history it is by no means one that skimps. Christopher Hitchens eloquent style is well used her getting the idea across while not being too wordy. He uses Jefferson’s own words and writings to demonstrate how the great man felt during his lifetime.

It is hard to describe how important Jefferson was to the history of the United States, whether it be his penning most of the Declaration of Independence to his major role in the monumental Louisiana Purchase towards the end of his career. He even managed to provide the foundation for the modern Library of Congress after the fire that destroyed 2/3s of the book in their collection. Then there is Monticello, his house and lands, of a most impressive type.

The man was not infallible as he had his troubles over slavery, his half-black mistress and his bitter rivalries with some of the other major players of the early American experience. He was an writer of note, philosopher, orator, politician and diplomat in extremis. A man not afraid to take it the enemy when needed as seen in his handling of the Muslim Barbary Pirates. A test for a young nation that Jefferson made sure they passed.

Who better than Christopher Hitchens to tell us his fascinating life’s tale.

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