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Download Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson Audiobook, by Alan Pell Crawford Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (235 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alan Pell Crawford Narrator: James Boles Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2008 ISBN: 9781400176182
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Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, with good reason: His life was a great American drama—one of the greatest—played out in compelling acts. He was the architect of our democracy, a visionary chief executive who expanded this nation's physical boundaries to unimagined lengths. But Twilight at Monticello is something entirely new: an unprecedented and engrossing personal look at the intimate Jefferson in his final years that will change the way audiences think about this true American icon. It was during these years—from his return to Monticello in 1809 after two terms as president until his death in 1826—that Jefferson's idealism would be most severely, and heartbreakingly, tested. Based on new research and documents culled from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Historical Society, and other special collections—including hitherto unexamined letters from family, friends, and Monticello neighbors—Alan Pell Crawford paints an authoritative and deeply moving portrait of Thomas Jefferson as private citizen, the first original depiction of the man in more than a generation. Here, told with grace and masterly detail, is Jefferson with his family at Monticello, dealing with illness and the indignities wrought by early-nineteenth-century medicine; coping with massive debt and the immense costs associated with running a grand residence; navigating public disputes and mediating family squabbles; and receiving dignitaries and corresponding with close friends, including John Adams, the Marquis de Lafayette, and other heroes from the Revolution. Enmeshed as he was in these affairs during his final years, Jefferson was still a viable political force, advising his son-in-law Thomas Randolph during his terms as Virginia governor, helping the administration of his good friend President James Madison during the "internal improvements" controversy, and establishing the first wholly secular American institution of higher learning, the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. We also see Jefferson's views on slavery evolve, along with his awareness of the costs to civil harmony exacted by the Founding Fathers' failure to effectively reconcile slaveholding within a republic dedicated to liberty. Right up until his death on the fiftieth anniversary of America's founding, Thomas Jefferson remained an indispensable man, albeit a supremely human one. And it is precisely that figure Crawford introduces to us in the revelatory Twilight at Monticello. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A breath of fresh air in the vast collection of Jeffersonian biographies.... Narrator James Boles convincingly presents the bleak drudgery of life at Monticello. AudioFile
  • “A well-researched narrative of Thomas Jefferson’s post-presidential years…focusing on less trampled ground and…shedding new light on Jefferson’s dysfunctional family life.”

    Washington Post

  • “A fair, intimate, and factual characterization of the man whose vision of self-government gave birth to the United States.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “A breath of fresh air in the vast collection of Jeffersonian biographies…Narrator James Boles convincingly presents the bleak drudgery of life at Monticello.”

    AudioFile

  • “Insightful analysis and lucid prose make this autumnal portrait a rewarding experience.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 1/15/2014

    " Jefferson died broke with his plantation on its way to auction. The whole saga of Jefferson showed the absurdity of how the 18th and 19th century planters in the south tried to live like English country gentlemen and how it ruined them and eventually the country. There are some good sections as well on the correspondence between Jefferson and Adams, one of the great friendships of American history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 12/27/2013

    " Interesting. I learned a lot about Jefferson (if it's true, who can say). I'll need to read some other books about him to see if there are common threads. I get why he had (and kept) slaves. It was a culture thing, and it was something passed down from his forefathers. He did personally not like it though. I suppose in his heart of hearts he knew it was wrong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 12/17/2013

    " This biography considers Thomas Jefferson as politician, planter, and family man, unlike many other biographies that focus exclusively on Jefferson as a pubic figure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bart | 12/8/2013

    " I have read several books on Thomas Jefferson. This book offered a fresh look concentrating mostly on his life after his two terms as President. He always thought that America would remain a great agrarian country. TJ woud be more than a bit surprised today. The author does a nice job of explaining some of Jefferson's positions and thoughts on slavery. He owned roughly 150 slaves and probably fathered 6 to 8 children with Sally Hemmings. Overall, I enjoyed the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 12/8/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to know about Jefferson after the Presidency. Life at Monticello was at times difficult. I would really like to visit there now that I have read this book. What a fascinating man! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah Simmons | 12/2/2013

    " Enjoying this thoroughly! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lenore | 11/20/2013

    " I admire Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to France, president, architect, inventor, scholar, farmer, vinter, connoisseur of fine things, to name just a few. I bought this book while visiting Monticello and Poplar Forest, so while reading it I could picture Jefferson in the domestic settings described in the book. The first 50 pages deal with his life before and during his presidency, while the rest of the book discusses his post-presidency. The author details Jefferson's familial and physical troubles and relates how he died insolvent. But that doesn't make me admire him any the less. I like that he truly lived and enjoyed "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Mitchell | 11/14/2013

    " Life at Monticello during retirement. Interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 9/7/2013

    " Fascinating details about Jefferson's family as well as his "shadow family". Definitely not a money manager. Adamant in his believe that there is a definite separation between politics and religion. Would benefit the current cast of political characters to remember this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Mccormick | 6/25/2013

    " Somewhat sad in describing the family and financial problems one of our founding fathers had during his lifetime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dani | 5/21/2013

    " I'm a history buff and TJ is a very interesting historical figure. It's a great book on his adult life and the goings-on of his family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 4/2/2013

    " Very good book. Jefferson is more complex than I ever thought. He wouldn't recognize this country today ... I'm sure he would be heartbroken by the things that are going on now. So sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kitty | 3/28/2013

    " Fascinating account of Jefferson's last years. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 1/23/2013

    " purchased from Costco, $9.99 2/21/09 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 11/29/2011

    " This is probably not a book to read if you are not into historical non-fiction. Great book to gain a better understanding of T. Jefferson and his family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J | 7/20/2011

    " I enjoyed the fresh look at Thomas Jefferson beyond what is generally presented. He became human and endearing in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Armstrong | 4/26/2011

    " This book on Mr. Jefferson shows us that we all have feet of clay. Great read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 4/8/2011

    " Very interesting biography of Thomas Jefferson's life after the White House. Well written and not dry, boring history. I was fascinated with his family and learned so much by reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/3/2011

    " Well done biography. Interesting to me. It showed how his eternal optimism was both a strength and a weakness. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 12/15/2010

    " I felt this was a little biased -- trying to show the bad side of Thomas Jefferson. It wasn't at all balanced. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 12/3/2010

    " I thought this book would focus more on the history but instead it dealt with a story line of old college friends and rivals. It was okay but not a page-turner "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 7/30/2010

    " An overall look at Jefferson's private and puboic lives.Excellent for a student of that time period and the man himself! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 7/6/2010

    " Really an interesting book for anyone who has an interest in Colonial History, Thomas Jefferson, or the State of VA.

    As a native Virginian I enjoyed the book and learned some things I had not previously heard ! Very interesting information on the formation of the University of Virginia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jj | 3/24/2010

    " I learned so much about Jefferson in this book. It was very interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 2/4/2010

    " I felt this was a little biased -- trying to show the bad side of Thomas Jefferson. It wasn't at all balanced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 9/9/2009

    " Very good book. Jefferson is more complex than I ever thought. He wouldn't recognize this country today ... I'm sure he would be heartbroken by the things that are going on now. So sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 6/25/2009

    " Very interesting biography of Thomas Jefferson's life after the White House. Well written and not dry, boring history. I was fascinated with his family and learned so much by reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra | 5/24/2009

    " Jefferson was a complicated man who really was owed a lot more appreciation than he was given during his lifetime. His economic times were as rough as we are experiencing now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dani | 4/9/2009

    " I'm a history buff and TJ is a very interesting historical figure. It's a great book on his adult life and the goings-on of his family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lora | 4/7/2009

    " This book is really fresh, especially if you've already read a lot on the founders. It skims through Jefferson's presidency then chronicles his retirement years at his beloved Monticello, with his family. Original! It really stands out in the sea of literature written about the Founders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vince | 1/20/2009

    " A nice book that adds to the later stages of Jefferson's life. He was active in many things right up to the end and his family life was a nightmare. That subject gets touched on in bits and pieces in books and would make for an interesting book. Google Isham Lewis among others. "

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About the Narrator

James Boles is an accomplished audiobook narrator whose work includes such titles as Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town by Nate Blakeslee and A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus. He is also an award-winning stage actor. He lives in Stratford, Connecticut.