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American Sphinx (Reprint) (Paperback)

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Product Information

product specification

  • Book Subgenre: Presidents + Heads of State, United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
  • Language: english
  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: paperback
  • Book Genre: Biography + Autobiography, History

Reviewer: Brent Staples, (New York Times Book Review)

"The biographies of Jefferson already are legion. But Joseph J. Ellis's 'American Sphinx' is a brief and elegant return to Monticello. Mr. Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College, is a remarkably clear writer, mercifully free of both the groveling and the spirit of attack that have dominated the subject in the past. As a biographer of John Adams, he is well suited to this mission. Adams was Jefferson's predecessor in the White House, his bitter rival in his middle years and his confidant toward the end, when both became aware of what the union and their friendship would mean for posterity. 'American Sphinx' is fresh and uncluttered but rich in historical context."

Reviewer: David Herbert Donald, (Chicago Tribune)

"Beautifully written and informed by Ellis's mastery of the voluminous and highly controversial literature on the revolutionary era, 'American Spinx' offers fascinating close-ups of the critical moments in Jefferson's career."

Reviewer: Brendan McConville, (Washington Post Book World)

"[Ellis] has produced a vigorous study of the development of Jefferson's complex character over time and resisted applying standards of the present to the past....In so doing, Ellis has better illuminated the ties between Jefferson's lost work and our own."

Reviewer: Benjamin Schwarz, (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

"Ellis is especially perceptive and persuasive in painting as a master of self-deception rather than as the hypocrite his contemporary enemies perceived."

'A thoughtful and respectful, but not worshipful, reassessment of the enduring meaning of Jefferson's life and work."