The Real Thomas Jefferson (Volume 1 of the American classic series)
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The Real Thomas Jefferson (American Classics Series #1)

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  608 ratings  ·  73 reviews

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America's Philosopher of Freedom

Jefferson is the central figure in American history, and...he may yet prove to be the central figure in modern history. So stated noted historian Henry Steele Commager. And as the English novelist Samuel Butler once wrote, Though God cannot alter the past, historians can. His observation is esp

Hardcover, 709 pages
Published September 1st 1983 by National Center for Constitutional Studies (first published June 1st 1983)
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Jan 13, 2009 Ladypoet33 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Ladypoet33 by: Lehi
When I first got this book, I was very intimidated by it. It looked as fat and boring as a text book.

I finally cracked it open about a month ago, and found it was full of stories. Not boring facts...but stories about Thomas Jefferson sources are from his letters and writings.

I just finished it yesterday and LOVE it. One of the best book I have ever read. Now on to Benjamin Franklin...

It is shameful that more people do not take the time to read books on our Founding Fathers that are truthful instead of defamatory. Our school textbooks would teach our children (as it did me) all the untruths produced by political parties, only hoping to win votes while disaffirming the virtue of another. For instance, the slave Sally Hemmings that we read about constantly in biographies on TJ is a complete falsification of the truth. Not only was she known to be TJ's nephew's mistress, but the...more
I really liked this book. It is a compilation of quotes and excerpts of Thomas Jefferson's writings. Instead of summarizing Thomas Jefferson's life and accomplishments from his own perspective, Mr. Allison ties quotes together and gives factual background info so that Thomas Jefferson can tell his own story. I really learned a lot about Thomas Jefferson and I've gained a whole new perspective on colonial history.

After reading this book, I had a new desire to study hard and learn to be a great sc...more
This is a comprehensive book, touching on many key aspects of Jefferson's life. It corrects the record about some popular myths including TJ not being a Christian (He was, and proclaimed himself as much so as any person who ever walked the face of the earth. He even edited, wrote, published his own version of Jesus biblical life and leanings.) and the misnomer claiming he was an advocate of "separation of church and state." He seems to have been cautiously careful about this issue to ensure that...more
An excellent book. Beautiful detail about both Jefferson's personal and political life.
Favorite quotes:

"It is a part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate, to surmount every difficulty by reason and contrivance."

From the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:
"Resolved, that the several states composting the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution fo...more
Feb 03, 2008 Jill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: George Wythe College
I loved learning more about this man, I had no idea how close the presidential race for him was, and how many times they re-cast their ballots until they finally got the majority vote. I liked how virtuous he was, and how steadfastly he kept his daughters in his mind and heart. It's so sad to hear about what really went on at home; he had a wonderful, talented wife and six children - but in time, they all died, three of their children in infancy, one as a young five year old (shortly after the m...more
Susan Gongos
I appreciate the style of the author in that there is no historical fiction entwined throughout. I have read several books about Jefferson that were historical fiction and although I gleaned quite a bit from them about the man, this one is based strictly on documentation. It is a very nice balance. I will say that this book has answered some gnawing questions I have had about this most enigmatic man. I am sovoring my read.
One of the most loathsome, disgusting practices of which I can think is telling disparaging lies about our Founders and our American heritage... And subsequently writing it in history books! Perhaps no Founder, however, has been more slandered than Thomas Jefferson. The Real Thomas Jefferson discusses how he has been depicted through the years: An atheist, racist, profligate demagogue with coarse manners and vulgar appearance, among other things.

Then it tells how Jefferson really was, not in the...more
Fascinating insights into the life of a brilliant man. Allison footnotes profusely.
Jeff Stockett
This book was amazing. I love the approach that it took to Thomas Jefferson. There are so many books at there that purport to know who Jefferson was and present an interpretation of him. This book did not try to interpret him at all. The premise behind this book and the reason for the title of "The Real Thomas Jefferson" was that we will get the most accurate picture of him if we let him speak for himself. Most of the book is drawn from letters that he, himself, wrote. There are also excerpts fr...more
This was a very informative book. I read it to my kids (it is pretty easy-going). One of the parts of this book that surprised me, surrounded his early education.

Thomas Jefferson's parents were keenly interesting in his education and instilled inspired requirements in him to work diligently and consistently on his education. They sent him to a Scottish minister for 5 years where he was required to study the classics along with Greek, Latin, and French. He was pretty fluent by the time he hit 14...more
I typically do not love biographies, but I truly loved this one. I found it very well written and paced in a way that kept the reader engaged. The first half of the book goes through Thomas Jefferson's life while the second is a reference for topics and what he wrote or thought about them. Both are worth the shelf space to keep handy.

I'm thankful to have read about this great man. I enjoyed learning what he was passionate about and what motivated him. I wish I would have read this sooner. I wish...more
Jul 20, 2008 Kimbolimbo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every single person
Shelves: read-in-2008
Excellent book. I didn't have to worry that I was reading the tabloids or exaggerated speculations about this great man. This book was fact, upon fact, upon fact from the letters, writings, testimonies, and actions of Thomas Jefferson and his associates/family. Some of the rumors and accusations about TJ were discussed and debunked.

Thomas Jefferson is pretty much one of the greatest men to walk the earth. I would love to meet him one day, but I don't want to be a nuisance since he was basically...more
This book seems to me to have been written with an agenda - to immortalize Jefferson and set him apart with iconic status. Jefferson is one of my favorite founding fathers and played a huge role in the founding of our country. This book, however, glorified those roles beyond what they might have been, left out any character flaws and questionable conduct, and painted him as a larger-than-life demigod. It also made John Adams out to be a horrendous individual. This book poorly referenced sources...more
I had hopes this book would be non-partisan, as it advertised. Unfortunately it was about as strongly partisan as a book can be. Jefferson is one of the most important people in American history and it seems as though no author or historian as of yet will tell both sides of the controversies surrounding him w out bias. I found myself checking Wikipedia for the other side of the story so that I could at least understand it. Perhaps Chernow will write one!

Luckily, Jeffersons own writing is brillia...more
Dara Hess
Mar 15, 2008 Dara Hess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Can I just say I love this man! I think of him as my own grandpa. I was working on the "Jefferson Independence Jubilee" fireworks program while reading this book, and I really can't begin to put on paper the deep respect, adoration and gratitude I feel for him. All I can say is that I want to be like him and some happy day I will meet him.:) Read this book. Through it, the hearts of the children are turned to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers are already turned to us. Get to know our fou...more
This is a wonderful biography. The author allowed the person of Thomas Jefferson to shine through by using many of his own words and writings rather than submitting him to their own fanciful imaginations as so many so-called biographers are wont to do.

Many examples are brought forward to illustrate his life and character to give the reader (me) tremendous fodder to feed on and consider my own goals and habits! in establishing new habits in my own live. He makes me want to do better and pursue m...more
Ya, I think this book glorified Thomas Jefferson a little too much, but I really liked it anyway. With all the defamation the Founders get, I feel it is justified.

One of the things I appreciated most was that his character was vindicated and the whole Sally Hemmings situation explained. This needs to be on the evening news at the time of the next Jefferson Family Reunion.

Being a follower of a Thomas Jefferson Education, I already had an appreciation of his broad and deep education. I loved rea...more
After I read "The Real Benjamin Franklin" I thought there could be no other man who did more for the new American Republic than he. Then I read "The Real George Washington" and realized I had found a man who had equaled Franklin. After reading "The Real Thomas Jefferson" I discovered that the three of them in their own way were indispensable to our country. These books are wonderful. (Each has an alphabetical collection of quotes from the man on various subjects that occupies at least 1/3 of the...more
Wow, I really loved this one! I learned so much about Thomas Jefferson. I appreciate the fact that the authors don't decide what they believe to be true about Thomas Jefferson and then try to persuade their readers, as other writers often do. Instead they stay out of the way and let the true character and life of Thomas Jefferson write the book. He was an amazing man who is definitely an example to me in many respects. I really think everyone should read this book.
Excellent resource on TJ. Learned many things I didn't know before about my favorite founding father! This book has 2 parts. Part I is his biography, which I have finished. Part II is a collection of his letters. Jefferson was a prolific writer and reader. (He sold his books to the Library of Congress after the original collection was destroyed by the British during the War of 1812.) I still have to read Part II, but for now I am putting this down.
If you thought you knew what you needed to know about Thomas Jefferson you may like to read this book. After reading this book, he has become one of 'those' people that I'd really like to meet in the next life.
I found the authors did a very good job in weeding out fact from fiction.
It isn't just a book of facts. It tells his story and lets the people become real.
I'm going to start The Real Benjamin Franklin now. Can't wait.
Its a great book about a truly great man. He among others of the fathers of our country should not be forgotten. I am so glad I read this book. Now I know Thomas Jefferson so much better than before and can say that there was hardly a better man born. The end of the book has an appendix of some of his writings it makes up nearly half of the book so don't be intimidated by its size. His writings are well worth reading however.
Enjoyed this as much as the other ones about our founding fathers. Good second half full of quotes but mostly enjoy reading the stories about their life. I learned quite a bit about Thomas Jefferson. Especially his younger years and then again his later years. Found a lot of what he did fascinating...including how early he introduced certain anti-slavery bills even to his state government. Incredibly smart person.
Fanastic biography! I learned so much about this founding father an author of the declaration of independence. I especially love tge section of his quotes on so many topics. This is not the man that has been revised by more recent biographers who like to cast Jefferson as an unbeliever. You can read his own words as to his deeply held belief in God and his admiration for Christ.
The thing I enjoyed most about reading this book was learning that Thomas Jefferson was a humble God fearing man and even though the Federalists did everything in their power to defame and instigate all manner of false accusations Thomas never retaliated and never gave up. Other modern day authors have injected those same false accusations which this book and author dispels.
Doran Barton
This biography is not nearly as good as The Real George Washington, but it is still worth recommending to everyone. This book uncovers a great deal about Jefferson, the life he lived, and the kind of man he was.

It is my belief, after reading this book, that Thomas Jefferson is exactly the kind of president the United States so badly needs today.
I always suspected that reading the stories of our founding fathers would be inspiring on some level. I can't tell you what a gross underestimation this turned out to be. In the pages of this book I have befriended the greatest man of my acquaintance--most definitely one of the best men to ever walk the earth. I highly recommend this book.
Wonderful book. I read it a while ago, so I can't give a great review, but I remember feeling very inspired while reading it. Its non-fiction, so its not a page turner, but for what it is, I remember being pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to get through... (but I like history and founding fathers/constitutional stuff!)
Thanks for letting me barrow this Jenny! I really enjoyed it. Some of it read like a textbook, so it was a book I took my time with and read here and there the past few months. I love history and Thomas Jefferson was one I did not know much about. There are some wonderful stories here! It made him seem more human. Very cool!
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