Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America, and since then he has been considered one of the fathers of the nation, the author of the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the person who to a great degree is responsible for the historical conception of the United States as “the empire of freedom”.
He was responsible for some of the major landmarks which shaped the course of what was a crucial period for the history of North America: the acquisition of the state of Louisiana, the Lewis and Clark expedition, or the mythical colonization of the American West.
With this political track record, it is easy to understand that the subtitle of Jefferson’s biography is entitled the “art of power”, referring to Jefferson’s efficient ability for manipulation and an unbounded capacity for reflection. Jefferson was a politician and a philosopher, and an authentic leader: one who was fascinated by power and obsessed with change and the desire to transform an already existing entity into a new reality.
Over 800 pages, Meacham portrays the complex profile of the third President of the United States, a man with a fascinating ability to improvise and a marked sense of commitment. These personal attributes, together with the turbulent context in which he lived, make Jefferson’s story a very interesting read.
Nobody better than the writer for Time and Newsweek, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the successful author of several best sellers to meet the challenge of writing a biography about a celebrity such as Thomas Jefferson, which is after all a difficult enterprise considering the amount of time that has passed since then. Nonetheless, Meacham’s work is essentially a manual regarding a question which will be eternally relevant: the art of power.