Thomas Jefferson

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What to expect

Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, the public man, and with good reason: he was the architect of our democracy and a visionary who expanded the nation’s physical boundaries to unimagined lengths. But the intensely private Jefferson joined in a conspiracy to make himself unknowable to the public.

Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets is a new and unprecedented examination of the “intimate” Thomas Jefferson—from his return to Monticello after two terms as president until his death. Author William G. Hyland Jr. pierces Jefferson’s private family veil and reveals little-known, poignant scenes of the relatives closest to Jefferson in his last years. Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets is the first biography to uncover the dynamic relationship Jefferson had with his adult grandchildren.

With a novelist’s skill and a scholar’s meticulous detail,Hyland explores new ground in Jefferson’s autumn years as a waning patriarch, enduring physical illness and family strife. These glimpses of Jefferson’s inner character will change the way readers think about this American icon: as a flawed—but benevolent—man.

Critics Review

  • “The author is an adept storyteller and defends Jefferson’s legacy with a confident narrative…An engrossing read.”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “A powerfully in-depth production…Hyland creates a far more psychologically detailed account of Jefferson than almost any competing biographical examination.”

    Bookwatch
  • “Hyland…adds a compelling element of social texture to ensure his characters are vividly and emotionally depicted.”

    BookViral
  • “[A] meticulously researched and precisely detailed account…[of] Jefferson’s turbulent twilight years…An immersive, original account that is both illuminating and thematically rich.”

    Prairies Book Review
  • “Paints a sympathetic portrait of both the third president’s last years as the patriarch of Monticello and the extended family that carried on his legacy, as well as a spirited defense against accusations of Jefferson’s sexual exploitation of Sally Hemings.”

    BookLife Reviews
  • “[An] in-depth and illuminating study of Jefferson through the lens of his intimate family members…Very well done.”

    Joseph F. Johnston Jr., author of The Decline of Nations

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