Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Democracy by John B. Severance ISBN 0395845130
cover art for Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Democracy by J.B. Severance
I have always found Thomas Jefferson to be a fascinating character. His interest in education, his scientific curiosity, his law and writing. When I visit Washington D.C. I try to make sure to visit his memorial even though it is a hike from any Metro stops.
However, I really have read very little about this man with whom I have held a fascination for since I was in my teens. This is youth non-fiction and not exactly challenging, but it was selected originally for my son’s school report and somehow, just stayed at the house because I thought it was time to read something and if Thomas Jefferson really was as fascinating as I thought he was, maybe I would find a more age appropriate book about the historical character.
The time in which Thomas Jefferson grew up was a turbulent time in our history and the people that he was in constant communication with were the mover and shakers of our country. He was a diplomat in France, traveled to Great Britain to help solidify treaties there and sailed back and forth across the Atlantic to help his State, help George Washington and take up the duties of Secretary of State.
A man who used much of his own money to help a new country along and entertain foreign dignitaries; who died in debt partially due to his expenses incurred when he was absent from his estate and to help a fledgling country. I think he was a rare man and though definitely not perfect, he is a man who can be admired and used as an example to our children.
I think I will find an adult book about Thomas Jefferson now.
From Publishers Weekly
Severance’s (Gandhi: Great Soul) ambitious portrait of America’s third president chronicles Jefferson’s life and career from his early education through his positions as author of the Declaration of Independence, governor of Virginia, ambassador to France, U.S. vice president and president, and finally as founder of the University of Virginia. Severance makes his gripping subject immediately relevant to modern readers by asserting that the soft-spoken Jefferson (who could barely make himself heard beyond the third row of Congress) would never have been elected in our present era of microphones and television sound bites. Severance is largely successful placing Jefferson in the context of the ideas and personalities of his time, but he sometimes assumes a prior familiarity with American history (e.g., after describing the protest against the 1773 Tea Act, he then uses the term Boston Tea Party without explicitly making a connection between the two). The most powerful passages rely on Jefferson’s own words to strengthen this characterization of one of America’s valiant proponents of democracy. However, when Jefferson’s words and deeds conflict?as in his vehement statements against slavery juxtaposed with his lifelong dependence on slave labor?Severance points out the contradictions but does not analyze the issues. Still, the text encompasses the spectrum of both professional and private life, highlighting Jefferson’s less famous roles as a devoted father and grandfather, enterprising architect and methodical scientist. Black-and-white archival prints effectively support the impressive span of events and people. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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