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Thomas Jefferson’s Lives: Biographers and the Battle for History edited by Robert M.S. McDonald

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Sixteen scholars contribute to this book, each often contrasting two Jefferson biographers or examining the biographers of a particular era or how different biographers approached a particular aspect of Jefferson’s life. The perspectives of his contemporary enemies are even examined. The twelfth chapter, “‘That Woman’: Fawn Brodie and Thomas Jefferson’s Intimate History” examines her 1974 book, the first effort by a white person in that century to illuminate the connection between Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemmings, whose grandfather and father were both white, but whose maternal relatives were all slaves. "An immensely valuable work, . . . Every scholar interested in Jefferson will want to read this book, and for students it is a wonderful introduction to the evolving craft of history and historiography.” ―John B. Boles. “You may be enraptured or infuriated, but the insightful entries in Thomas Jefferson’s Lives will cause you to reflect not just on Jefferson and his world, but on why so many writers have seen him so differently. This marvelous collection of essays informs us not only about Jefferson, but about how, and why, historical interpretations can be so contradictory. It is a book that is guaranteed to cause readers to ponder – and maybe rethink -- some things they thought they knew about Jefferson. What more can one ask of a book about Thomas Jefferson?” - John Ferling. The editor, Robert M. S. Ferling, is Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy and the author of a previous book on Jefferson.

Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 2019. 311 pages with a Foreword by Jon Meacham, Afterword by Gordon S. Wood, and an Index. Hardback in dust jacket.