Based on new research and documents culled from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Historical Society, and other special collections---including hitherto unexamined letters from family, friends, and Monticello neighbors---Alan Pell Crawford paints an authoritative and deeply moving portrait of Thomas Jefferson as private citizen, the first original depiction of the man in more than a generation.
Here, told with grace and masterly detail, is Jefferson with his family at Monticello, dealing with illness and the indignities wrought by early-nineteenth-century medicine; coping with massive debt and the immense costs associated with running a grand residence; navigating public disputes and mediating family squabbles; and receiving dignitaries and corresponding with close friends, including John Adams, the Marquis de Lafayette, and other heroes from the Revolution. Enmeshed as he was in these affairs during his final years, Jefferson was still a viable political force, advising his son-in-law Thomas Randolph during his terms as Virginia governor, helping the administration of his good friend President James Madison during the “internal improvements” controversy, and establishing the first wholly secular American institution of higher learning, the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. We also see Jefferson’s views on slavery evolve, along with his awareness of the costs to civil harmony exacted by the Founding Fathers’ failure to effectively reconcile slaveholding within a republic dedicated to liberty.
Right up until his death on the fiftieth anniversary of America’s founding, Thomas Jefferson remained an indispensable man, albeit a supremely human one. And it is precisely that figure Crawford introduces to us in the revelatory Twilight at Monticello. Read by James Boles. 9 Audio CD's. Running time 11 hours.