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American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson
American Sphinx The Character of Thomas Jefferson
Author: Joseph J. Ellis
For a man who insisted that life on the public stage was not what he had in mind, Thomas Jefferson certainly spent a great deal of time in the spotlight--and not only during his active political career. After 1809, his longed-for retirement was compromised by a steady stream of guests and tourists who made of his estate at Monticello a virtual h...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780679764410
ISBN-10: 0679764410
Publication Date: 4/7/1998
Pages: 464
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 39

3.7 stars, based on 39 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
FABULOUS biography of Thomas Jefferson the political figure as well as Jefferson the man. It reads much like a novel and was a very engaging read. I highly recommend this to anyone seeking a biography.
reviewed American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I struggled to get through this book, but now that the struggle is over --- I'm glad I waded through it. I learned quite a bit about Thomas Jefferson. The author doesn't sugar-coat Jefferson's personal foibles, or political thoughts.

I learned more about Jefferson's life and about the formative year of America as a nation during and after the Revolution. Ellis focuses on some key chapters in Jefferson's life and explores the contradictory actions/thoughts/writings produced during those periods.

While it was slow going for me at times, (I think the extensive quotations from Jeffersan hiscotemporary political figures slowed down the reading.) I am glad to have finished it. I think it was a fair look at the multi-faceted man that today is too often held up as a one dimensional cardboard cut-out used to suit political whims.
reviewed American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Popularly known for the sunny language of the Declaration of Independence, a Southern "gentleman", and a father to Sally Hemmings's children.

What is less popularly known is his inability to envision a United States of America as an industrialized and entreprising nation. A great foe to Alexander Hamilton.

Essentially, a well-educated man without the strength to act on his education when faced with questions that dealt with humanity and morality.
reviewed American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book. Should be a must read for every American citizen.
reviewed American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very good biography of Jefferson, the man, instead of Jefferson, the politician. Ellis does a wonderful job as usual of depicting the Colonial period in an in-depth but accessible way.
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