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Extended Audio Sample Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson, 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 Bole Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, and with good reason. 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 entirely new: an unprecedented look at the intimate Jefferson in his final years—from his return to Monticello in 1809 after two terms as president until his death in 1826—that will change the way readers think about this American icon. Basing his narrative on new research and documents culled from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Historical Society, and other special collections, Alan Pell Crawford paints an authoritative, deeply moving portrait of the private Jefferson—the first original depiction of the man in more than a generation. 

Though physical illness and family troubles, Jefferson remained a viable political force, receiving dignitaries and corresponding with close friends, including John Adams and other heroes from the Revolution; helping his neighbor James Madison during his presidency; and establishing the University of Virginia. It was also during these years that Jefferson’s idealism would be most severely, and heartbreakingly, tested.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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