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

American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis
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's review
Jan 14, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008, history, biography-memoir, american-revolution-and-thereabouts, american-presidents

A friend of mine thinks Ellis was "too nice to Jefferson" in this book - I think he's crazy. The book is well-written, and well-argued, but the argument is that Jefferson was cognitive dissonance incarnate. Ellis gives Jefferson credit for very little, and I think that's unfair. The American Revolution needed someone to fire the imagination, and that was Jefferson. Maybe the vision Jefferson described is too idealistic, but, feh.

Maybe he was a bit paranoid about the Federalists, too, but I'm not convinced he wasn't right about Hamilton. They guy wanted to be emperor for life.

Still, fascinating read and all.

Half a point off because Ellis uses the phrase "What's more..." as a sentence starter way to often in this book, and in "Founding Brothers."

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