Top 10 Books on Thomas Jefferson

 

One of the most prominent figures of American history, Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence. His life was an inspiring one and at the same time a little bit contradictory to his statements and way of living life, and thus he has formed the subject of a lot of authors’ books.

 

Jefferson and His Time

This is a Biography of the life of Jefferson published in 6 volumes over a very long period of 34 years starting from 1948 till 1982

Read it For:
It is an entire collection elaborating all aspects of Jefferson’s life from his childhood till his last days. All different aspects are covered in one volume of the book. For history enthusiasts, this is a wonderful book that will give you insight into the life of one of the most memorable American leaders.
Don't Read it For:
This series is a biography and strictly a work of non-fiction. It is reading about the life of a person and might get boring for some.
What makes this book stand out?:
This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Jefferson is defined as the closest one can come to learning about Jefferson’s life, and Dumas for this book has been revered as the author on whose shoulder every subsequent scholar on Jefferson stands.

American Sphinx

An interesting yet strange book, this piece of writing is not an attempt to shed light on the life of Jefferson but rather an attempt to understand his mind. Jefferson was one who spoke something but did the complete opposite of it. For example, he was one to talk about individual liberty and write in the declaration of independence that all men are born free, yet he had acquired in his lifetime a mind-boggling 600 slaves.

Read it For:
This book tries to analyze Jefferson’s life but does not do it in a way that condemns him or idolizes him. This National Award winning book perfectly balances the act of examining someone’s acts and general behavior and trying to figure out the reason behind his contradictory statements and acts.
Don't Read it For:
If you are searching for a book about Jefferson’s life, this is not for you. It covers a few events of his life, not his entire life.
What makes this book stand out?:
The way in which the writer has made an effort to understand Jefferson’s perspective and expressed his opinion without using very strong tones that would color a reader’s own opinions.

Jeffersonian Legacies

This wonderful collection of essays provides scholars with answers to certain questions that all scholars wonder about Jefferson. It sheds light on how Jefferson did not only design the world that he lived in, but also altered the course of things that affect our lives today. Jefferson has had a huge impact on the world that we live in today.

Read it For:
Full of different interpretations of different subjects from Jefferson’s life, this book would allow you to understand his life from different perspectives that various historians have to offer. It gives you a vision of the making of America at the hands of Jefferson.
Don't Read it For:
If you are looking for a biography, this book is not for you. It gives you a glimpse of his life and major events but is not a biography exactly.
What makes this book stand out?:
While it presents different views of different historians, this book is written in an easy language that all people can understand even those who are not familiar with historian vocabulary.

The Hemingses of Monticello

This novel provides an insight of the Jefferson-Hemings’ ties. A chapter of history that has been hidden for a long time until recently. Contradictory to common belief, the Hemings were not just slaves to Jefferson, but their relationship was much more dramatic and controversial than that.

Read it For:
This book brings out the harsh truths that not many people know about since it is a chapter of Jefferson’s life that had until recently been erased.
Don't Read it For:
There are no real drawbacks to this book. It provides true stories and is wonderfully written.
What makes this book stand out?:
The research put into the making of this book is remarkable. The author has put in a great deal of work which is evident in the book and how beautifully it is written.
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Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation

This is a one-volume book into the life of Jefferson. It contains details about his entire life in one comprehensive yet detailed compilation.

Read it For:
A detailed description of Jefferson’s life, unlike other biographies that come in various volumes, this book contains everything in one.
Don't Read it For:
This book is n great detail and as such can come off as very textbook-like. Jefferson’s life is covered in this book in too much detail for some people.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a notable work of literature written in a very graceful language that makes it a pleasurable piece to read.

Jefferson and Madison the great collaboration

This book gives a glimpse of the lives of two very dedicated and earnest American heroes who put their country above everything, even their egos.

Read it For:
The amount of research put into this book is extraordinary and well worth the time it would take to understand the great lives of two well known American Presidents.
Don't Read it For:
It is a little hard to read and takes the effort to understand, but all in all is worth the effort.
What makes this book stand out?:
This document is very well researched and written and provides a great insight into the lives of two very prominent American faces.

Thomas Jefferson-The Art of Power

This Political Biography by Meacham takes you on a journey into the world that Jefferson lived in and saw it through his eyes. It shows how Jefferson molded the world around him and manipulated situations and people to shape the American political system as it is today.

Read it For:
The depth with which this book is written is commendable. It is noted that the work done by Meacham in this book puts you inside Jefferson’s head and makes you understand what it would be like to be Jefferson.
Don't Read it For:
While this book shows the genius of Jefferson, it can come off as bias, showing Jefferson in a very positive light and his opponents in a very negative light.
What makes this book stand out?:
Meacham is praised for the way he captured Jefferson’s life not only in terms of a political leader but as a human being in this book.

Twilight at Monticello

This book showcases a different aspect of Jefferson’s life apart from all over America. It is more about his personal life and the challenges he faced in it than his public life.

Read it For:
To gain insight into Jefferson’s life, his estate in Monticello, his political agenda and the idea of personal liberty established by him yet his keeping of slaves to work in his plantation.
Don't Read it For:
It is not much of a biography about Jefferson’s life and the impact of his acts on American history.
What makes this book stand out?:
This book stands out for taking a different path into exploring Jefferson’s life, unlike the very many biographies that focus more on his political life.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

This short book contains the story of a young nation attacked by African countries that were of the view that non-muslims should slave. While Jefferson tried and failed to negotiate with these rogue countries, he ordered for the US Navy to attack these countries, putting America on the path to achieving greatness.

Read it For:
This book is an account of a forgotten chapter of history and deserves a read.
Don't Read it For:
This book, though amazingly written has been said to be a little redundant
What makes this book stand out?:
This book makes history interesting. Once you start reading, it is impossible to put it down.

Thomas Jefferson

In this biography about Jefferson, Bernstein covers six decades of his life in all its aspect, his political career, his passion for democracy, his deeply embedded beliefs and all.

Read it For:
This is one of the most revered biographies on Jefferson and contains everything about his life, not only the ups but also the downs, his failures, achievement, inconsistencies and all.
Don't Read it For:
While a great read, the concise form of this book proves to be a drawback in some cases where more elaboration was necessary but missing.
What makes this book stand out?:
This book represents the birth of the ‘American Spirit.’ Jefferson can be said to be the source where America gets its sense of purpose from.

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