matt's Reviews > American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson

American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis
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Feb 12, 08

bookshelves: america-f-k-yeah, biography, historyonics-american
Read in October, 2004


I've only read one other book about Jefferson but I've read several others about the founding fathers and I'm absolutely convinced that this is the best I'll ever read about Thomas Jefferson.

Ellis writes incredibly well- poetic, detailed, erudite as all hell, and smoothly- with grace.

He captures what must have been Jefferson's consciousness. Not his mind or soul or heart so much as all three put together and the cloud of ideas and opinions he carried with him, as we all do.

Complex man and a complex book, but Ellis handles everything put together here with amazing organization and balance.

So georgeously written that I had to read more by him, and I did. Founding Brothers was first-rate, and the Washington book was good enough, but this is truly an all-surpassing masterpiece.

If you're reading this, I swear to tittyfucking Christ that you are not going to find a better entryway into a key part of the American Psyche and the history of our land than this book.

I never reread but I am seriously going to give this one a second spin sometime.

the problem is, I'll have to buy a whole new copy since the one I have is underlined like the proverbial motherfucker.

Seriously, I can't even read between the lines of the frickin thing. I took so much away from it I'm still sorting out what it all means.

It's that good. Dig it!
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Szplug (last edited Jul 20, 2012 07:07PM) (new)

Szplug I swear to tittyfucking Christ

First time I've ever come across that phrase—blasphemous or no, I like it.


matt Glad to hear it- I looked over the review I wrote just now and realized that I was cursing a blue streak. Not embarrassed, not really, but definitely slightly concerned that it undermines the, er, gravitas of the subject matter.


message 3: by Szplug (last edited Jul 23, 2012 10:22AM) (new)

Szplug Actually, IMO it's a very effective review technique—providing passion and emphasis—precisely when it is used sparingly (in general, not within any particular review) as is my experience with yourself. And your unique phrase conjures both highly unusual imagery with the humour of the idea...all a very sober and technical way of repeating that I like it!


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