Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity

Alf J. Napp, Author, Alf J. Mapp, Author Madison Books $22.95 (487p) ISBN 978-0-8191-5782-9
Scholars long have noted paradoxical aspects of Jefferson's life: a slaveholder, he wrote the ""Declaration of Independence''; a traditionalist, he innovated in politics; an avowed humanist, he pursued a closet theology. In this excellent first installment of a projected two-volume study, Mapp sifts through legend, and sometimes erroneous scholarship, in search of Jefferson. Tracing his subject's life through the presidency, he finds that underneath his public roles (statesman, architect, writer, etc.) Jefferson was a passionate artist whose creative growth accounts for many of his paradoxical views. Making fine use of abundant recent scholarship, Mapp gives us a greater appreciation of this complex Virginian who came to embody the very tensions between tradition and experiment that are the ``principal source of vitality in a society.'' Mapp's books include The Virginia Experiment. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC featured alternate. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 03/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
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