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In Pursuit of Reason fills a long-standing need of interested students and scholars for an authoritative single-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson. Whereas Jefferson biographies of the past have proven daunting, even impenetrable, because of their size, Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., has produced a first-rate biography that is as concise as it is complete.
Cunningham examines the interplay between Jefferson's career and philosophy, his action as leader, and his thought as expressed in some of the finest American prose. Here is the public figure so vital to the founding of our nation and the private man who presided from his beloved Monticello over a large family of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Drawing on the recent explosion of scholarship on Jefferson and providing fresh new readings of original sources, In Pursuit of Reason is a superb, approachable monument to one of our nation's greatest men.
"Cunningham, Jr.'s summary effort to restore the author of our Declaration of Independence to a place of honored visibility...has succeeded. We see here a post-Renaissance genius at work: a brilliant architect, a subtle and humane statesman and, above all, a leader who believed in the 'sufficiency of reason for the care of human affairs.'"—The New York Review of Books
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Preface and Acknowledgements; 1. The Formative Years; 2. Public Life and Private World; 3. The Road to Revolution; 4. At Philadelphia; 5. Virginia Reformer; 6. Wartime Governor of Virginia; 7. Withdrawal, Sorrow, and Return; 8. The Scene of Europe; 9. Romantic Interlude and New Adventures; 10. Witness to Revolution in France; 11. First Months at the State Department; 12. Conflict in Washington's Cabinet; 13. A Trying Year; 14. Renewal at Monticello; 15. Vice-President; 16. The Election of 1800; 17. A President in Command; 18. Presidential Zenith; 19. Trials of a Second Term; 20. Closing a Political Career; 21. The Sage of Monticello; 22. A Final Legacy; Notes; Bibliographical Note; Index