When Thomas Jefferson wrote his epitaph, he listed as his accomplishments his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia statute of religious freedom, and his founding of the University of Virginia. He did not mention his presidency or that he was second governor of the state of Virginia, in the most trying hours of the Revolution. Joseph Ellis, author of American Sphinx, focuses on other parts of Jefferson's life but wrote that his actions as governor "toughened him on the inside." It is this period, when Jefferson was literally tested under fire, that Michael Kranish illuminates in Flight from Monticello.
Filled with vivid, precisely observed scenes, this audiobook is a sweeping narrative of clashing armies - of spies, intrigue, and desperate moments. The story opens with the first murmurs of resistance to Britain, as the colonies struggled under an onerous tax burden and colonial leaders - including Jefferson - fomented opposition to British rule. Kranish captures the tumultuous outbreak of war, the local politics behind Jefferson's actions in the Continental Congress (and his famous Declaration), and his rise to the governorship.
Jefferson's life-long belief in the corrupting influence of a powerful executive led him to advocate for a weak governorship, one that lacked the necessary powers to raise an army. Thus, Virginia was woefully unprepared for the invading British troops who sailed up the James under the direction of a recently turned Benedict Arnold. Facing rag-tag resistance, the British force took the colony with very little trouble. The legislature fled the capital, and Jefferson himself narrowly eluded capture twice. Kranish describes Jefferson's many stumbles as he struggled to respond to the invasion, and along the way, the author paints an intimate portrait of Jefferson, illuminating his quiet conversations, his family turmoil, and his private hours at Monticello.
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Terrible, incompetent narrator.
The narrator was utterly incompetent. I can scarcely stand to listen to him. What a pity! It's a pretty good book, and it casts light on a neglected part of Jefferson's long public career.
Robert Feifar is the worst audiobook narrator I have ever listened to. His phrasing and emphasis are like the narration to a (poor) children's program, he does ridiculous pseudo-English accents when a British person is quoted (I'm talking Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins here), and he mispronounces words ALL THE TIME. I think I am going to scream if he pronounces "militia" with four syllables one more time: "mill-ish-ee-a." Or "Gloucester" as "Glaw-kes-ter." Oh, he just said "detritus" with a short "i" in the middle. How charming. Does it occur to Robert Feifar that he might check a dictionary if he is unsure how to pronounce a word? He plainly has no concern for his craft, nor respect for his customers. If I were Michael Kranish, I would be furious at what this clown had done to my book.
Good book/bad reader
Yes, it's an interesting account of a rather obscure series of Revolutionary events, as well as a window into Jefferson's character.
The account of Jefferson's escape with his family.
NO! There were a lot of wince-inducing mispronunciations, the worst being "calvary" for "cavalry" which, of course, occurred many, many, many times.
I might. It would depend on the reviews.