This book is about the Thomas Jefferson. It tells the fatherless boy of fourteen, the hard working young scholar, the young lawyer in backwoods Virginia, and the young diplomat in Paris. Jefferson suffered the hard times of youth. His first love, Rebecca Burwell, ditched him for a fellow student. In 1768 he offered love to Betsey Walker, the attractive wife of a friend who was away on political business. As a middle-aged single he broke his wrist in Paris while showing off in front of Maria Cosway, the wife of a portrait painter. In short, Jefferson had all the wooing skills of Clarence Thomas. .
A longtime senior editor of American Heritage, E. M. Halliday is the author of a memoir of the poet John Berryman and an account of the Allied invasion of Soviet of articles for The New Yorker. It is know that he lives in New York City. Mr. Halliday talked about his book Understanding Thomas Jefferson, published by HarperCollins. Mr. Halliday attempts to answer what has been the enigma of Thomas Jefferson, how a man who is celebrated as a champion of freedom was a major slave owner for his entire life. He argues these paradoxes are understandable when considered in the context of the era in which Jefferson lived. The author researched how Jefferson became a slave owner, his views on educating and emancipating slaves, and Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings. After his remarks he answered questions from members of the audience. .
The first half of this book aims to be a short yet fairly comprehensive sketch of Jefferson's whole life, with the focus more on the personal and private than the public and political. The second consists of a series of closely related essays on crucial topics such as his symbolic feud with Alexander Hamilton, his views on slavery and race. The surprising distortions to be found in some of the most distinguished biographies: Jefferson's literary taste, moral philosophy and religion; his adamant opinions on women; his ideas about democracy, freedom of expression and education, plus the estimate of his place in American history, and finally, a speculation on history versus historical fiction.