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American Sphinx:
The Character of Thomas Jefferson

by Joseph J. Ellis

ISBN 0679444904 / 9780679444909 / 0-679-44490-4
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Well timed to coincide with Ken Burns's documentary (on which the author served as a consultant), this new biography doesn't aim to displace the many massive tomes about America's third president that already weigh down bookshelves. Instead, as suggested by the subtitle--"The Character of Thomas Jefferson"--Ellis searches for the "living, breathing person" underneath the icon and tries to elucidate his actual beliefs. Jefferson's most ardent admirers may find this perspective too critical, but Ellis's portrait of a complex, sometimes devious man who both sought and abhorred power has the ring of truth. [via]