Friday, April 18, 2008

On... American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis

This book focused on the character, the words of Thomas Jefferson. I absolutely love history and found this book right up my alley. Sometimes historiographers fill their books with boring facts told in boring ways but Ellis is not like that.

My last semester of college I took a class on the Early National Era of America and obviously Jefferson played a big role in that class. I also wrote my paper on his writings and views about education so I had to read a lot about Jefferson and familiarize myself with the scholarly authors so it was quite a "thrill" to be reading along and come across a familiar name.

The only downside I could find about Ellis' style really wasn't all that big of a deal. He structured the chapters to deal with different time periods of Jefferson's life and usually began with a summary that focused on the end of the time period and then back tracked. I got a little confused but it was easily sorted out.

I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves history.


Jeanette said...

This book is on my non-fiction/history reading list. Despite the controversy I like reading Joseph Ellis' works because I think he make history accessible to us less scholarly folks.

Eric said...

I am using Jefferson's quote about books on one of the shelf walls in my living room.