Jefferson (Hardcover)

Architect of American Liberty

By John B. Boles

Basic Books, 9780465094684, 640pp.

Publication Date: April 25, 2017

List Price: 35.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From an eminent scholar of the American South, the first full-scale biography of Thomas Jefferson since 1970
Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker--as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet. We witness him drafting of the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government--a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day.
Boles offers new insight into Jefferson's actions and thinking on race. His Jefferson is not a hypocrite, but a tragic figure--a man who could not hold simultaneously to his views on abolition, democracy, and patriarchal responsibility. Yet despite his flaws, Jefferson's ideas would outlive him and make him into nothing less than the architect of American liberty.
"Magisterial...perhaps the finest one-volume biography of an American president."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
" A] splendid biography."--Wall Street Journal
"The fullest and most complete single-volume life of Jefferson since Merrill Peterson's thousand-page biography of 1970."--Gordon Wood, Weekly Standard

About the Author

John B. Boles is the William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University and the former editor of the Journal of Southern History. He lives in Houston, Texas.