Get Your Free Audiobook

Listen with a free trial

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $45.28

Buy Now for $45.28

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

From an eminent scholar of the American South, the first full-scale biography of Thomas Jefferson since 1970. Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker - as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet. We witness him drafting of the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government - a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day.

Boles offers new insight into Jefferson's actions and thinking on race. His Jefferson is not a hypocrite, but a tragic figure - a man who could not hold simultaneously to his views on abolition, democracy, and patriarchal responsibility. Yet despite his flaws, Jefferson's ideas would outlive him and make him into nothing less than the architect of American liberty.

©2017 John B. Boles (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In a narrative as majestic as its subject, Boles takes a fresh, nuanced look at one of the America's most enigmatic founding fathers...Boles, an accomplished scholar well versed in the source material, deftly paints a picture of the world as Jefferson knew it, taking care not to mix up understanding with excusing, especially with the Virginian's relationship with Sally Hemings. This is a gem of a biography." ( Publishers Weekly)
"A fully fleshed biography of Thomas Jefferson that emphasizes his creative paradoxes and accomplishments...A stately, knowledgeable study." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"John Boles's Jefferson is learned, fluent, sensitive, and magnificently detailed. It gives due attention to the intellectual currents and social circumstances that made Jefferson who he was, and its careful engagement with the complexities of slavery is convincingly integrated into the whole. Professor Boles has earned an eminent place for himself in the ever-active field of Jefferson studies." (Andrew Burstein, author of Jefferson's Secrets and coauthor of Madison and Jefferson)

What listeners say about Jefferson

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MichaelBuffalo
  • MichaelBuffalo
  • 23-06-2020

Makes Jefferson Human

After listening to Chernow’s Washington in which Jefferson comes off as a snake-in-the grass, backstabbing conniver in George Washington’s cabinet, this book—though never denying the animosity of TJ for Hamilton—gives a more balanced (I suppose) portrait. Jefferson seems to be a more generous & cooperative soul when in charge than as a cabinet member.
I came out of this book with increased admiration & esteem for Jefferson. I still admire Hamilton as well.
This was a wonderful book, I highly recommend it. A few other reviewers commented the book lacked depth on Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings; hmm, I don’t agree. That relationship seemed to be sufficiently & intelligently dealt with. I found no fault with this book. Very well written & read.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brandon R.
  • Brandon R.
  • 03-01-2021

Great Listen

Very good biography of Jefferson. Author does a nice job of providing the facts on Jefferson while also grappling with the obvious contradictions within his life and and adding some personal commentary from time to time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeffrey Thornton
  • Jeffrey Thornton
  • 10-09-2018

Jefferson

Boles' excellent biography humanize the sage of Monticello. Boles shows us a Thomas Jefferson who is both a great and brilliant man ,an idealist and reformer ,but also a flawed, if well being human being. This book will not satisfy the Jefferson haters who insist that historical figures must be perfect but to fair minded readers John Boles ' book acquaint us with a man well worth knowing and admiring.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Freer Hall
  • Freer Hall
  • 21-07-2018

A Whole New Understanding of More Than Jefferson

This is a great, factual breakdown, of Jefferson presented in the context of his time. The author doesn't make excuses for him, but does provide the information necessary for the reader to make their own decisions.

The book also opened my eyes to the early politics and players that guided our country in its earliest days.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-2021

high expectations

Perhaps my expectations of this book were too high as was my expectation of perfection of this, one of the great founding fathers. it was heartbreakingly disappointing to discover that on the issue of slavery my idol's feet were of clay, as are mine on many subjects.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cristin R. Fong
  • Cristin R. Fong
  • 17-05-2020

Just an apologist

I was extremely disappointed after reading Chernow’s Hamilton. The biography didn’t mention Hamilton until halfway through the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for steve thomas
  • steve thomas
  • 08-05-2020

Solid Bio

Surprisingly good one volume biography of Jefferson. Not compulsively readable like McCullough on Adams or Chernow on Hamilton but does nice job of covering a very eventful life at a reasonable length.

Narrator is good enough.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Shirley Woods
  • Shirley Woods
  • 15-03-2019

Great book!

This is a great wonderful book! I would highly recommend it! There is so much information, but it is well worthwhile! A lot of our history!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jerome
  • Jerome
  • 18-12-2017

The two sides of Jefferson the father of American liberty

Wonderful insights into the conflicts that arose between Jefferson’s public life where he repeatedly and earnestly opposed the institution of slavery and his private life where his slaves numbered more than 200. Superb narration.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tyler D Mace
  • Tyler D Mace
  • 25-07-2017

Excellent book in combination with Hamilton

Wonderful narrative. Very little mention of Jefferson's relationship (or lack thereof) with Washington after his resignation.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.