Twilight at Monticello
The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson
By Alan Pell Crawford
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812969467, 322pp.)
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
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Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, and with good reason: He was the architect of our democracy, a visionary chief executive who expanded this nation’s physical boundaries to unimagined lengths. But Twilight at Monticello is entirely new: an unprecedented look at the intimate Jefferson in his final years–from his return to Monticello in 1809 after two terms as president until his death in 1826–that will change the way readers think about this American icon. Basing his narrative on new research and documents culled from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Historical Society, and other special collections, Alan Pell Crawford paints an authoritative, deeply moving portrait of the private Jefferson–the first original depiction of the man in more than a generation.
Though physical illness and family troubles, Jefferson remained a viable political force, receiving dignitaries and corresponding with close friends, including John Adams and other heroes from the Revolution; helping his neighbor James Madison during his presidency; and establishing the University of Virginia. It was also during these years that Jefferson’s idealism would be most severely, and heartbreakingly, tested.