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Thomas Jefferson on Wine
by John Hailman
In Thomas Jefferson on Wine, John Hailman celebrates a founding father's lifelong interest in wine and provides unprecedented insight into Jefferson's character from this unique perspective. In both his personal and public lives, Jefferson wielded his considerable expertise to influence the drinking habits of his friends, other founding fathers, and the American public awa ...more
Paperback, 457 pages
Published August 26th 2009 by University Press of Mississippi
(first published November 8th 2006)
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This was a fascinating history on wine drinking during the founding of America. The author went a little overboard with the buying habits of Jefferson, though, and I didn't like how he skipped over history just because no wine was involved. That may be a good thing, however. I caught more than a few errors along the way.
This book was recommended to me because I am taking a Road Scholar program on wine & history in Charlottesville next month. It gave me some background on both Jefferson himself & his interest in wine. However, it dragged on & was difficult to finish. It was bogged down by too many wine inventories, which may be of interest to very serious wine connoisseurs, but I found it tedious. It is worth reading for anyone interested in wine or planning a trip to Monticello. One can always skip ...more
I actually read this as a history. There are many wonderful stories and letters shared within the pages. Jefferson was a thoughtful man who enjoyed the benefits of wine and his travels through Europe. This book inspires the desire to try some wines still in place or making a resurgence from the 1780s as well as rediscover our American history. If you love wine and history, this is the book for you.
This is probably a great book for serious wine geeks, but I wasn't able to get into it as much as I'd have liked. It's filled with endless lists of wine inventories and account book entries, which is somewhat interesting from a historical perspective, but I don't really know or care enough about wine history to get a lot out of it.
Hailman has searched the copious documentation left by Jefferson to compile a study of his wine buying, drinking, cellaring, and growing efforts. The focus is narrow but the material is so interesting that the book actually escapes pedantry!