The book starts with the story of a bottle of 1787 Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson and sold at auction at Christie's in 1985. The book pivots arThe book starts with the story of a bottle of 1787 Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson and sold at auction at Christie's in 1985. The book pivots around story of this bottle and everything associated with it. Things that come into play such as the question of antique provenance, authenticity, wine vintages, high end collecting and super-collecting, the world of the mega-rich, and the rise of the wine industry in the US are explored. It all comes back to this bottle, the sale, and the question of the authenticity of the exterior bottle, the wine itself, and the ownership. The author did a great job illuminating the personalities involved and both the science and absurdity swirling around the story. Really enjoyed this book. Finished reading it on the heels of a trip to the Napa Valley made it even more fun....more
Very interesting and somewhat intense book about Thomas Jefferson who, as the author points out, was more than a diplomat and more than a statesman anVery interesting and somewhat intense book about Thomas Jefferson who, as the author points out, was more than a diplomat and more than a statesman and more than a president and more than a philsoper, and more than the sum of those parts. I came away from this with a much better understanding of TJ's motivations, aspriations, and point of view. I typically find this period of time difficult to relate to but am also very curious about what life was like, and the who and how and time when our now powerful democracy was formed. The author did a wonderful job of making TJ understood, amid his many conflicts and warts and moments of glory and sadness. I can understand why many presidents after his time have studied and revered him. Personally I find this time period in history difficult to relate to, maybe it's the language. That said, I thought the author did a great job of shining light on the many facets of Jefferson in a way that makes Jefferson accessible.
Jefferson wielded power and influence deftly. It was more than the charm of a young politician, although he had that going for him, but watching the ways in which he could bend others to his will was an art in and of itself. TJ didn't beleive in power for the sake of power alone, but used it aptly when he found it appropraite to achieve a greater good. The big unanswered question with Jefferson is if he was so good at using influcence and abhored slavery why didn't he do something about it? I think Meacham addresses this question, and I think his reasoned opinion is right. I just don't like the answer. But neither the book or the author are to blame for that, far from it.
A fascinating and complex subject matter is aptly examined by a precise and thoughtful author.
I received this book from Random House through Goodreads. Thank you! ...more
This book examines the relationship of FDR as Commander in Chief with his military commanders during the course of WWII. Make no mistake, these are alThis book examines the relationship of FDR as Commander in Chief with his military commanders during the course of WWII. Make no mistake, these are all men of ego and personalities that differ vastly from each other as well as that of the President, and the author does an excellent job of showing us each individual's background and temperament. As different as they were from each other, they were brothers in arms military leaders navigating the role of the United States during a world conflict. Leading them was an astute President who was also dealing with other world leaders who had their own ideas about how the allied forces should pursue victory. The author delivers an unvarnished view of the personalities and events of the time, and provides insights to the decisions these men made, their leadership traits, and relationship with each other. I found it insightful and very readable.
Note: I received this book from Random House through a giveaway. Thanks to the publisher for their generosity. ...more