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Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello

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3.18  ·  Rating Details ·  113 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In this moving and intimate look at the final days of our most enigmatic president, Andrew Burstein sheds new light on what Thomas Jefferson actually thought about sexuality, race, gender, and politics.

Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, leaving behind a series of mysteries that captured the imaginations of historical investigators-an interest rekindled by the recent
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Tantor Media (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Judy
Sep 24, 2008 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: insomniacs
Now I have to start this by saying that I love Thomas Jefferson (I know David, you don't like him, but you wear his shirts). There so much fascinating information about Jefferson out there--much of it written in a highly engaging style. This book--not so much. Written by a professor at the University of Tulsa (we need to check the suicide rate in the history department there), his pedantic writing style is an excellent cover for the genuinely interesting information contained in this volume. Thi ...more
Janie Panagopoulos
As an exceptional researcher, Andrew Burstein, once again, has shared with us his academic understanding of Thomas Jefferson. Analyzing Jefferson's post-retirement personal letters, business writings, and book collection, this researcher shares with us Jefferson thoughts concerning such matters as his personal religion, slavery, sex, women in "his" modern society, science, medicine, and death.

Burnstein address the question of how the author of the Declaration of Independence ("all men are create
...more
Erin (NY)
This book was such a chore to get through! It was boring awfully written and the interesting information passed me by because it was so scarce! It you want to learn more about Jefferson, do NOT read this book! (The first chapter was all about his bodily functions! I mean come of ewwww!)
Wayland Smith
This was a well-researched biography of Thomas Jefferson, who is a fascinating individual. It covers his life with emphasis on his career in politics and later, his retirement years.

While the man had his flaws, there's a lot to admire. Anyone who almost goes broke buying books is my kind of people (and probably yours if you're on this site). He stuck by his beliefs about religion, even when it cost him politically. One thing that really struck me was that, when he was elected President, since i
...more
Tasneem Tripathi
Jul 31, 2009 Tasneem Tripathi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
delved into jefferson's psyche.
1. his relationship with sally hemmings was not romantic, but carried out merely to fulfill his sexual needs. he looked up to the greeks, who supported this type of behavior.
2. the book discussed his views on religion-which are much like mine. spiritual in nature.
3. jefferson was unwilling to address slavery because he believed people with black skin were truly inferior. he ascribed psychological and intellectual traits to physical attributes. i can't remember th
...more
Cynthia Bower
An interesting review of some of the lesser known interests and academic pursuits of Thomas Jefferson. Includes his interest in the study of medicine as well as the debate on whether women should read novels and the whole topic of educating women.
Sheridan
Aug 28, 2015 Sheridan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Considering the topics, I found it rather dry. Didn't finish it. But what I did read made me like Jefferson less...
Nancy
Jan 05, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather difficult o read, almost as difficult as Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.
Renée Fontenot
Excellent. Not sure it told any secrets, but it was insightful and a pleasure.
Michele
May 26, 2016 Michele marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is going on the back burner...it's a little too dry for me at the moment.
Shannon
May 17, 2008 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Jefferson died of dysentery and had an enlarged prostate. I could have lived my whole life without knowing these facts. The author focuses on Jefferson's letters from later in his life. As the title suggests, the author tries to piece together Jefferson's inner impressions, feelings, and motivations. In some places, his analysis is fascinating. Other places, it seems a bit too much to buy. In other places, I had trouble staying interested. In all, a smart book that I'm glad was written, b ...more
Mike
Dec 12, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TJ was an amazing individual. A genius....complete with quirks and a very deft strategist. Kind of like rolling Plato, Descartes, Socrates, and Mark Twain together, if you can imagine that.

Jefferson predicted a remarkable amount of what he "feared" would happen to this country. The part that worries me is what will ultimately happen in this country, if his predictions hold. I'm not even suggesting that he is some kind of Nostradamus or anything, just a very astute observer.

--He had some seriousl
...more
Kathy  Petersen
Jefferson's retirement years, according to Burstein, have been much neglected by historians and biographers. He takes it upon himself to remedy that situation. Here we have Burstein's intelligent interpretation of the retired president's views on politics, religion, death, sex, and even slavery. I liked how he constructed his exploration, which including looking backward from TJ's later years. Interesting, well written, and well researched, with a reasonably objective and balanced discussion of ...more
Marjie
Aug 27, 2012 Marjie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read on Thomas Jeffersons ideas and thoughts on science, medicine, religion, politics, death, race and women's place in society. Based on TJ's letters and correspondence, the author grants the reader a glimpse into the brillant yet conflicted mind of one of my favorite founding fathers. So many more questions left to be answered.....
Michelle
Mar 13, 2008 Michelle rated it did not like it
I was looking forward to this being an interesting biography, but I was sorely disappointed. It's very rare that I don't finish a book once I've started it, but I couldn't make it all they way through. It wasn't about Jefferson so much as about random medical trivia and his beliefs on good diet and excercise. I couldn't handle it.
Mike
Apr 18, 2008 Mike rated it did not like it
Shelves: jeffersonia
This unfortunate book was written like a soap opera, and has about as much credibility. Yet, in spite of the sensationalist agenda, it manages to be quite boring.

The audio version is also greatly diminished by the narrator who has an annoying, grating voice and can't even manage to pronounce "Monticello" correctly.
Charles M.
Towards the end of Thomas Jefferson's life, he apparently held many secrets or opinions about various aspects of his life, including that of slavery and his relationship with Sally Hemings. Here's some fascinating insight into those "secrets".
Janet
Aug 31, 2011 Janet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like it, the back cover made it seem more like novel than textbook, but the actual writing reminded me it was actually a textbook, and not an interesting one at that
Patricia dumas
Mar 14, 2012 Patricia dumas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oy vay, I will never finish this book. It is pompous and boring. The history of desire? Desire and Science?? I want Jefferson in the flesh and blood. So far, this is horrible.
Adam
Apr 06, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The author seemed more interested in spouting off his knowledge about philosophy and poetry, than discussing tj.
Debbie
Jan 20, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jefferson's post-retirement writings and what they show of the inner man
Jason
Sep 09, 2009 Jason rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, given-up
Like listening to your aged aunt's list of ailments.
MaryJS
Feb 04, 2013 MaryJS rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
2/1/13
Olivia treloar
Olivia treloar rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2016
Lisa Summerlin
Lisa Summerlin marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2016
Pierce
Pierce rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2016
Ursula
Ursula rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2016
Erin Patton
Erin Patton marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2016
Patty Baskin
Patty Baskin marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2016
Rikki
Rikki marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2016
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Andrew Burstein is the Charles P. Manship Professor of History at Louisiana State University, and the author of The Passions of Andrew Jackson, Jefferson’s Secrets, and Madison and Jefferson, among others. Burstein’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and Salon.com, and he advised Ken Burns’s production "Thomas Jefferson." He has been featured on C-SPAN's ...more
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