In Jefferson's Demons, Michael Knox Beran examines episodes of melancholia in Jefferson's life. In particular, he focuses on the journey Jefferson made to Europe in 1787 to escape the depression that set in due to his tumultuous experience as governor of Virginia following the Revolution and his wife Martha's death. Like Gary Wills' Lincoln at Gettysburg, Beran's revelatory narrative weaves together intellectual history with biography to show how Jefferson embraced the idea of classicism. In the end, the author offers a new assessment of Jefferson that demonstrates that this enigmatically cool and collected intellectual was also a man of great passion.More
"This thoughtful reflection on our third president's disposition and cast of mind merits company with the best recent works about the man...Yet the work's great value is to remind us that Jefferson was as much affected by mysteries of the unknown and fears for himself and mankind as he was the optimist who steered his bark 'with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern.' "(Publishers Weekly)
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Lots of words, little detail
- Jonathon Pyles
A tedious read
- Nicholas Vence