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The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  19 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
As controversial and explosive as it is elegant and learned, The Long Affair is Conor Cruise O'Brien's examination of Thomas Jefferson, as man and icon, through the critical lens of the French Revolution. O'Brien offers a provocative analysis of the supreme symbol of American history and political culture and challenges the traditional perceptions of both Jeffersonian hist ...more
Paperback, 386 pages
Published April 28th 1998 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1996)
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May 31, 2016 Alix rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating topic however O'Brien's book leaves much to be desired.
There is a place to criticize the hagiographic attitudes of previous Jeffersonian scholarship but this book is not that place. O'Brien isn't bringing these critiques up to disprove them instead be just brings them up continually to show how he /isn't/ doing that.
While bringing up these issues he then turns around and repeats the counter revolutionary propagandistic attitude towards Robespierre, depicting he and St. Just (whil
I nearly gave this book 2 stars instead of 3. When O'Brien writes about Jefferson and his ideas, the book kept my interest and I enjoyed it. However the reader should be warned that in the central chapters, which take up most of the book, Jefferson barely gets a walk on part. These chapters are really a description of Franco-American relations during the French Revolution, covering events such as Benjamin Franklin's death, the United States edition of Tom Paine's Rights of Man and the Genet affa ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it

A Great but Flawed Man

Conor Cruise O'Brien has here given us an extremely interesting, if troubling, book on Jefferson's views on the French Revolution and slavery. In a nutshell, O'Brien has two charges against Jefferson to bring: first, he believes that Jefferson's support of the French Revolution was for the most part sincere, but convenient. Secondly, and most provocatively, O'Brien not only argues that our third president was a racist, not merely when judged by exacting late Twent
Sofia FitzGerald
Mar 19, 2016 Sofia FitzGerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
This was an interesting read. My only problem with it was that the author waited to bring up the fact of Jefferson's virulent racism until the last chapter (and the epilogue). It seemed that his views on race were relevant to his views on the French Revolution, and should have been discussed earlier in the book: for example, how Jefferson's views were changed by the successful slave revolt in Saint Domingue. By waiting to discuss race until the last chapter, O'Brien fell into the same trap as ot ...more
Jul 15, 2013 May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-american
Ok... so honestly, the main reviewer's claim that this book would destroy the perceptions of T. Jefferson and America from within are a bit overblown. A good book if you want to think of Thomas as a man... just a man, that had to act though greatness was thrust upon him. You do that and you'll be just fine.
Jim Dilmore
Aug 25, 2013 Jim Dilmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good one. It lacks the fanboy nature of many books on Jefferson and casts a stark light on some of Jefferson's more duplicitous political maneuverings.
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Irish politician, writer, historian and academic.

Member of the Irish Parliament for the socialist Labour Party.

Member of the Northern Ireland Forum for the United Kingdom Unionist Party, which advocated direct rule of Northern Ireland from London.

Virulently anti-IRA.
More about Conor Cruise O'Brien...

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