Jefferson's White House: Monticello on the Potomac

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Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

James Conroy is the author of Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865 (Lyons Press, 2014) and Lincoln's White House: The People's House in Wartime (R&L, 2016), co-winner of the 2017 Gilder Lerhman Lincoln Prize and winner of the 2017 Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Prize. He resides on Boston's South Shore. Conroy speaks extensively and has been featured on C-Span Book TV.


Jefferson's White House opens the door to an amazing world. One can feel from the first pages the force of Jefferson's determination to create a truly democratic space in that elegant, unfinished house, making dinner guests fresh from the wilderness the equal of the British ambassador. The reader meets the fascinating collection of people who crowded his presidency, while Jefferson is discovered as he wished to present himself, leading the emerging American democracy but, consistent with his hallmark of equality, also revealing his flaws. Mr. Conroy gives us a true and unvarnished portrait of this controversial man, totally at home in the lovely Irish-Palladian white palace set in the mud and muck of the bucolic capital.--Patrick Phillips-Schrock, Author of The White House: An Illustrated Architectural History
James Conroy is a gifted writer and historian. There is something almost magical about the way he transports us back into the world of Thomas Jefferson, by recreating, through telling detail, the President's House as it was in the beginning, new and raw but elegant and worldly, as contradictory as its brilliant occupant.--Evan Thomas, historian, journalist, and best-selling author
In his engaging narrative, Conroy surrounds his pivotal figure, Thomas Jefferson, with the vivid characters that formed the presidential sphere from political friends, foes and family members to the free and enslaved staff that insured the President's House functioned properly. A strength of the book is the ample number of direct quotations from this wide array of characters, evincing the research that supports this compelling story of Jefferson and his use of the presidential mansion to promote his ideas of true republicanism.--G.S. Wilson, author of Jefferson on Display: Attire, Etiquette and the Art of Presentation
This well-researched and colorfully written book deftly humanizes Jefferson and reveals the traits that endeared him to family and friends and disarmed potential political enemies. It is a significant contribution to Jefferson scholarship. John B. Boles, author of Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty.--John Boles, author of Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty
Jefferson's White House is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of a controversial figure at a critical time in the new American nation's history. By focusing on the third president's ongoing efforts to transform an unfinished house into a home, James B. Conroy brings the place and the people who lived, worked, and visited there to fascinating life. His portrait of Jefferson as genial host, partisan politician, family man and friend, employer and slave-owner is sympathetic yet unsparing, making a complex character comprehensible to contemporary readers. An ambitious, enlightening, and brilliantly realized project.--Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Virginia and co-author of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
Jefferson's White House vividly captures the third president's time in America's most iconic home. James Conroy goes into incredible architectural and aesthetic detail, highlighting not only how Jefferson understood and used these spaces to project his political and ideological beliefs, but also how visitors, dignitaries, peers, and enslaved persons experienced them firsthand. For anyone interested in Jefferson's presidency and the relationship between politics and place, this is a must read.--Matthew Costello, Assistant Director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, White House Historical Association
Impressively informative, detailed and documented, "Jefferson's White House: Monticello on the Potomac" is an extraordinary and deftly scripted study that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections.--Midwest Book Review