Release Date: 2-1-2022
A fascinating biography of Thomas Jefferson that presents an entirely new and provocative look at the final years of Jefferson’s life, as seen through the eyes of his most trusted family confidants. Based on fresh research and unpublished memoirs, it is also a riveting account of Jefferson’s adult grandchildren—Thomas Jefferson Randolph and Ellen Coolidge. Most historians have overlooked them, yet they profoundly influenced seminal events in Jefferson’s long life, including a sexual scandal. A powerful psychological profile.
On April 13, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial on the edge of the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. World War II had injected the two hundredth anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth with special significance. The tide of history had just shifted its course. One of the foremost political figures in American history finally took his place in the ultimate American pantheon, within sight of George Washington’s soaring monument and Abraham Lincoln’s brooding, seated statue. No American has ever before enjoyed such a transcendent status as Thomas Jefferson. And over the next 250 years of American history, no public figure would ever reach the same historic heights.
This is the triumphant “political” image of Jefferson, yet one far from reality. Jefferson had desired to live in the “tranquil, permanent felicity” that flowed from a secluded home life at his elegant mountain estate, Monticello.[i] But during the last seventeen years of his cloistered family life, his story was infused with high drama in a congealed world of alcoholism, domestic violence, family jealousies, bankruptcy, and a grisly murder. Then came a humiliating series of political wounds, including an alleged sexual affair with a slave, corroding Jefferson’s personal and professional reputation.
[i] Thomas Jefferson, Letters and Addresses of Thomas Jefferson, ed. William B. Parker (Buffalo: National Jefferson Society, 1903), 43.
About the author:
WILLIAM G. HYLAND JR., a native of Virginia, is the author of four widely praised historical biographies, including IN DEFENSE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne Books), which was nominated for the Virginia Literary Award.
Mr. Hyland is a seasoned litigation attorney with the national law firm of VERNIS & BOWLING, with nearly thirty years of high profile trial experience. A former prosecutor, he is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Florida, Alabama, Colorado and before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hyland is also a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law. His professional lectures include televised speeches at the National Archives, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the University of Virginia, CSPAN, BOOK TV (https://www.c-span.org/video/?463476-1/george-mason
) and The Federalist Society. He is a member of the Virginia, Massachusetts and New York Historical Societies and serves on the Board of Directors of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society. He holds a B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Before law school, Mr. Hyland held a TOP SECRET security clearance and worked for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
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