Thomas Jefferson - Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham won the Pulitzer for his life of Andrew Jackson, American Lion; his new biography, Thomas Jefferson (Random House, $35), reads like another prizewinner. With access to his subject’s unpublished letters, Meacham explores the wide range of qualities that he believes made Jefferson the most successful political figure of America’s early years. Among the founder’s many attributes, Meacham focuses especially on the wide-ranging, inquisitive mind that led Jefferson to become an inventor, astronomer, and gardener— to name just a few of his pursuits. Meacham’s Jefferson is a true Renaissance man, and one whose idealism successfully achieved workable form with The Declaration of Independence. As the nation’s third president, his most important responsibility was to ensure the safety of his country, a duty that reinforced his desire both to acquire and to maintain power.