Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson (Paperback)

The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson

By Alan Pell Crawford

Random House Trade, 9780812969467, 322pp.

Publication Date: February 10, 2009



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.

About the Author

Alan Pell Crawford is the author of Unwise Passions: A True Story of a Remarkable Woman-and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth-Century America and Thunder on the Right: The "New Right" and the Politics of Resentment. His writings have appeared in American History, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, and he is a regular book reviewer for The Wall Street Journal. Crawford has had a residential fellowship at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. He lives in Richmond, Virginia. From the Hardcover edition.

Praise For Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson


“Intimate and detailed . . . [Alan Pell Crawford] had access to thousands of family letters–some previously unexamined by historians–that he used to create his portrait of the complex idealist, [and] there are some surprising tidbits to be found.”
–Associated Press

“[A] well-researched look at Jefferson, and even readers with only a passing interest in our third president should find it fascinating.”
–Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Insightful analysis and lucid prose make this autumnal portrait a rewarding experience.”
–Kirkus Reviews