The title of Jon Meacham’s new book may be “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power,” but make no mistake: This is a full biographical treatment of perhaps the most charming and unknowable of the founders. Impeccably researched and footnoted, it’s a model of clarity and explanation.
Unlike its subject, “Thomas Jefferson” is not stylish. Meacham distills, and explains, and explains, and explains. Consider this not untypical passage, on the death of Jefferson’s mother: