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The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson
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The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  104 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Thomas Jefferson was an avid book-collector, a voracious reader, and a gifted writer--a man who prided himself on his knowledge of classical and modern languages and whose marginal annotations include quotations from Euripides, Herodotus, and Milton. And yet there has never been a literary life of our most literary president.
In The Road to Monticello, Kevin J. Hayes fill
Hardcover, 738 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published June 3rd 2008)
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Diane Schirf
The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson by Kevin J. Hayes. New York: Oxford University Press. 2008. 752 pages.

While I was visiting my aunt in Washington, D.C., in the early 1990s, she suggested a road trip: first, to Luray Caverns, then down Skyline Drive to a town where we’d stay overnight, then over to Charlottesville for the triple play of Monticello, Michie Tavern (lunch), and Ash Lawn. Off we went, stopping in Charlottesville first at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Cente
A kind of "literary biography" of President Jefferson. Kevin Hayes focuses on Jefferson as a man of letters and learning, and what that might have meant for the identity of young America.

There is certainly plenty of material, and much of it is a pleasure. If you, like me, are interested in books and book collecting, much of the book's value and enjoyment will come simply from reading about the building of Jefferson's library, about the sheer numbers of books he bought, and the influences that bo
Jun 26, 2016 Penny rated it did not like it
I can't finish this one. 95 pages in and nothing happening but a review of the books he read.
Kyle Slavetsky
Feb 05, 2014 Kyle Slavetsky rated it it was amazing
The Scholarship of this history is not only very compelling but it shows Mr. Jefferson in a new light. How the composition of his Great Library helped shape his mind and make him the man he was.

While I wish Mr. Hayes dedicated more time to Mr. Jefferson's presidency and his association with the other founding fathers, overall the book was excellent.
Andrew Carr
Apr 17, 2013 Andrew Carr rated it it was amazing
Magisterial. As fine a literary tribute as the subject could deserve. Jefferson was a pre-eminent man of letters and his life was defined more by his pursuit of books and knowledge, than by the offices through which he expressed his learned views on government, society and nature.

Hayes provides an insight not only into what Jefferson was reading at all stages of his life(not just titles but story and themes), as well as how the book was received at the time, and how Jefferson later made use of
May 01, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it
This is my second time reading this book just to review it more. I got this book at a gift shop while visiting Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson designed his home and was an avid reader and also developed certain devices for his home. For example, his writing desk. He also was responsible in the design of the University of Virginia as well, Which I could see in the back of his house.
Apr 14, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing
It is hard to think of a better subject than Thomas Jefferson for such a fine extended literary biography as the one at hand. Here the scholar Kevin Hayes nicely and authoritatively relates how books and the love of learning formed the central core to the elusive life that was Mr. Jefferson's, one of the most important political, diplomatic, and educational figures in our nation's history.
Feb 01, 2009 Lea rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The author has conducted a great deal of research and provides tremendous insights into the origins and developments of Jefferson's thoughts as understood through his books. It is jam-packed with information. However it is written in an academic style, which is fine as long as the reader knows to expect it.
Mar 17, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
Informative about Jefferson but could have been shortened quite a bit if the author had not wrtten so much about his addiction to books. I got that point in the early part of the book.
Apr 04, 2010 John rated it liked it
Good information on TJ. A bit of a slog though - not sure if I care how he arranged vol. 1, 2nd edition on the 3rd shelf and the sun shone in at 2 p.m. from a 45 degree angle.
Oct 19, 2011 Sue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-not-read
I got it from the Library and returned it unread.
It was hard to read, there were many refurences that I did not understand.
I will chose another author, same subject.
Yaser Albader
Jan 04, 2012 Yaser Albader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب معقد ويحتاح إلى سعة بال وصبر وبحث كثير، أكثر مايكون بحتاً مطولاً في التطور الفكري لتوماس جيفرسون من أنه عرض حياته
Adam Shain
Aug 23, 2015 Adam Shain rated it it was ok
Way too much around Jefferson's library. What he read, what books he bought, and less about his actual life.
Steve H
Jun 16, 2012 Steve H rated it it was ok
Shelves: presidents
Didn't finish; was more about his book buying habits ; I picked up another book on his life;
Jul 28, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Fascinating approach - Thomas Jefferson as writer and reader. Definitely one to re-read some day.
Oct 31, 2009 Nora marked it as to-read
Learning a lot from this book but it's LONG...have to table it for awhile!
Jul 29, 2010 John rated it really liked it
I'm scanning this one for Jefferson's thoughts on religion and morality. This is a very interesting book that is focused on Jefferson's reading and analysis on his library, notes, letters and writings rather than just a straight biography. Very interesting comments on the apostles and the idea of the trinity.
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“The Man who has not Music in his Soul, Or is not touch’d with Concord of sweet Sounds, Is fit for Treasons, Strategems, and Spoils, The Motions of his Mind are dull as Night, And his Affections dark as Erebus: Let no such Man be trusted.17 Copying a passage” 0 likes
“Jefferson argued that rational society was among life’s most valuable gratifications: “It informs the mind, sweetens the temper, chears our spirits, and promotes health.” In such company, he told his friend, “I could once more venture home and lay myself up for the residue of life, quitting all its contentions which grow daily more and more insupportable. Think of it. To render it practicable only requires you to think it so.”23 Jefferson’s sense of the possible is impressive. His advice to Madison applies to everyone. Those who think about the barriers that stand in their way will never reach their goals; those who concentrate on their goals will surmount the intervening barriers with ease.” 0 likes
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