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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Thomas Jefferson - The Art Of Power
I liked Jon Meacham’s new biography, “Thomas Jefferson: The
Art of Power.” It is a good book. It’s not as great as the authors American
Lion, his Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Andrew Jackson. While Meacham is
a highly skilled wordsmith (he is one of those journalists turned historian)
and his research is impeccable, he does tread the middle ground a bit too much
in this book.As you are probably are
aware, Mr. Jefferson’s reputation has taken a beating in recent years. It’s all
about hypocrisy. The man who brought us “all men are created equal” had
slaves.Considering the times though,
while he made some motions early on towards eliminating slavery later he talked
out of both sides of his mouth. Promising some he was against it and would work
to end the institution and then continuing to live the live the life and do
nothing about it. Meacham deftly avoids much of this subject, says little about
hisblack mistress and mother of many of his children.
Much of what Mr. Meacham has to say
about Jefferson repeated frequently, is that he was both philosopher and
politician but could be pragmatic when theory and reality were at odds. Though
he was an idealist but was also able to be practical and could compromise in an
burgeoning era of extreme partisanship. All and all in todays similar climate
there were some good lessons for today. I’m sure the book will be very popular and
will give it a B+.
I am a not so recently retired social studies teacher and basketball coach. Still hunting birds though now with a camera instead of a gun.
Nature devotee, dog lover, birder, gardener and still all around outdoor adventure seeker.
Troutbirder II is my alter ego. He loves books and history and an opponent of unnecessary, unplanned and unending "preemptive wars", he spent the Bush II years gradually converting to "yellow dog" Democrat.