To many Americans, Thomas Jefferson is the architect of our freedom. And yet the author of the ""Declaration of Independence"" also participated in a society that depended on slavery, and was himself the owner of slaves. How are we to reconcile this contradiction? This new life of Jefferson by Natalie S. Bober does not evade this difficult question.From the first page, we are taken into Jefferson's world, to help us understand what it meant to be a man of his time. He stands before us as a shy, freckle-faced, and, for the eighteenth century, unusually tall young man. We follow him through a life in which he gave words to American independence, journeyed to France as ambassador, and triumphed in a bitter campaign not unlike our recent presidential elections. He served two terms in the White House, but the achievements most important to him were as the author of the ""Declaration of Independence"" and ""The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom"", and as architect and founder of the University of Virginia, which stands today as a living monument to his belief in the importance to a democracy of higher education open to everyone. His belief in the ""illimitable freedom of the human mind"" speaks to us even today.Thomas Jefferson taught us the power of the word. He showed us that words beautifully shaped can reshape lives. The Jefferson revealed here is distinguished by his often contradictory nature but also by his optimism, his curiosity, and his exceptional sense of his own place in history.Like Bober's earlier books on Abigail Adams and the American Revolution, ""Thomas Jefferson: Draftsman of a Nation"" will appeal to students of history of all ages. This book faces the fact that Jefferson was a flawed human being - yet insists that this does not disqualify him as a hero.
Natalie S. Bober is the author of numerous books of history for young adult readers, including Countdown to Independence: A Revolution of Ideas in England and Her American Colonies, 1760-1776 and Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution.