Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson” as Want to Read:
The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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
...more
Hardcover, 738 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published June 3rd 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Road to Monticello, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Road to Monticello

American Sphinx by Joseph J. EllisThomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings by Annette Gordon-ReedThomas Jefferson by R.B. BernsteinBecoming Jefferson's People by Clay S. JenkinsonThomas Jefferson by Christopher Hitchens
Jeffersonian Books
19th out of 35 books — 24 voters
The Triumph of Improvisation by James Graham WilsonTeam of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinTruman by David McCulloughJohn Adams by David McCulloughWashington by Ron Chernow
Positively Presidential
89th out of 120 books — 34 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 355)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
...more
Nathan
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
...more
Penny
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
...more
Steve
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.
Mark
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.
Lea
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.
Lisa
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.
John
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.
Sue
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;
Kathryn
Jul 28, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Fascinating approach - Thomas Jefferson as writer and reader. Definitely one to re-read some day.
Nora
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!
John
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.
Amanda
Amanda marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
Steve
Steve marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2016
Ashlyn
Ashlyn marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
Karen Chandler
Karen Chandler rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2016
Cindy
Cindy marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Erik
Erik is currently reading it
Jul 27, 2016
Will
Will marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2016
Becky
Becky marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
Camila Farias
Camila Farias marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2016
Cathy Brown
Cathy Brown marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
carey eule
carey eule marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War
  • Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder
  • Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson
  • The Sage of Monticello
  • Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello
  • I Am Murdered: George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing That Shocked a New Nation
  • In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson
  • Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation
  • Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography
  • Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence
  • Thomas Jefferson: A Life
  • For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions
  • Saving Monticello: The Levy Family's Epic Quest to Rescue the House That Jefferson Built
  • The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States
  • Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon
  • The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson
  • The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac & the Race to the West

Share This Book



“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
More quotes…