Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-23 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 8 user ratings

" Easy to read, lively, and concise biography. A welcome and valuable supplement to add to a multitude of other printed works on our esteemed third president. " said.

"I hadn't realized the extent to which Thomas Jefferson was influential in the creation of America as we know it today. From the American revolution in the 1770's through the founding of the University of Virginia, with such accomplishments along the way as author of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and 2 terms as the third president of the United States, he did more to shape this country than nearly anyone else. He was not a politician per se; he was an idealist and a man who loved learning. He also provided
the books for the first real Congressional Library. He was quite an individual, truly a Founding Father of our country.

I wanted to include a couple of quotes from Patrick Henry, that amazing orator, during the time the colonies were still British, 1774.

Speaking to a Congress of the colonies held in Philadelphia,

"Where are your landmarks, your boundaries of Colonies? We are in a state of Nature, Sir.....The distinction between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American."

That quote actually brought tears to my eyes.

Now here is where the liberty or death quote comes from, Patrick Henry again,

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!I know not what course others may take; but as for me....give me liberty or give me death!

Of course the British didn't have the colonies in slavery or chains, they were quite reasonable to the colonies actually. And yes, life is dear and peace is sweet. But these fiery words certainly apply when a country is at war fighting those who destroy liberty.

Thomas Jefferson had the gift of writing, Patrick Henry had the gift of speech.
" said.

"Picked this up on a whim from someone's guest room and was surprised to find myself glued to it even in the shower. Truly a really well written biography of Thomas Jefferson. I can't speak to the historical accuracy of Bober as I did not get a chance to google her dates and such, but I was very taken with her engaging, charming, celebratory, narrative style. It made the book easy to read and really gave me a feel for the environment and education that formed the very poetic writer of the Declaration of Independence. Like many biographers, Bober does put her own lens on events which do not fall within her pre-conceived idea of Jefferson. (She tries to say that Jefferson was irreligious and shy, which I'm not sure is true, but may seem so to certain kinds of modern observers.) However, I doubt you could find a historian that did not, even very good ones. One such case is when Bober calls Jefferson's legislative initiative for a day of prayer on the eve of war, "a trick", a game he played for a political show. Now, he may have used those words even, but as we know people do tend to revise their history and motives. I was left wishing for more background on some of Jefferson's mentors. Two good mini bios were those of Dr. Small and of Tom's father. I also wanted to hear more about where exactly Jefferson's Declaration of the Rights of Man came from. Bober wants to say it came from the Anglo-Saxon pre-law society, but here I think her own biases cloud her views. Passing over the Sally Hennings situation, I think this book is apt for mature teens, but I would supplement it with a more in depth discussion of the origins of Jefferson's ideas. I would look to Montesquieu and Voltaire, who grounded those rights in a scientific/ pre-political reality. Otherwise the book is fun to read and I found myself imagining the young master of Monticello dancing away in Williamsburg Pubs or riding through the snow with a dogged Bob Hennings or fiddling with his 9-year old friends. Enjoyable." said.

June 2018 New Book:

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