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Flight From Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War by Michael Kranish


Cover of Flight from Monticello by Michael KranishDetails

Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War by Michael Kranish, Oxford University Press, USA, Hardback, 388 pages, 22 illustrations.


Flight from Monticello

Brief Description

Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War details Thomas Jefferson's actions during the Revolutionary War and how, on June 4, 1781, he fled Monticello, mere minutes ahead of the British soldiers rushing to capture him, nearly becoming the most valuable American prisoner of the war. The author recreates this harrowing moment and reveals its central importance to Jefferson's life and to the young nation's fate. He describes Jefferson's many stumbles as he struggled to respond to the British invasion of colonial Virginia, illuminating his quiet conversations, his family turmoil, his private hours at Monticello, and the lessons he learned during those dark hours as Virginia's governor that would serve him all his life.

Staff Comment

"Michael Kranish has written a vivid and compelling account, with wonderful illustrative and often unfamiliar anecdotes, including descriptions of Benedict Arnold's wearing a British general's uniform and riding along the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, and Jefferson's last-minute escape from Banastre Tarleton's troops. Flight from Monticello is an exciting account of a little-known but important chapter of revolutionary history."

--Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, Saunders Director of Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
at Monticello, professor at the University of Virginia, and fellow of the Royal Historical Society

About the Author

Michael Kranish is a Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe who was a visiting fellow at Monticello's Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies in 2008.  He is the co-author of John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography.



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Michael Kranish at Monticello's Jefferson Library:

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Editorial Review - Publishers Weekly vol. 256 iss. 44 p. 44 (c) 11/02/2009
No great figures are now without multiple biographies, so why not slice up their lives into smaller subjects? Since that seems to be the current way, we're lucky to have a serious slice like this one. Kranish (a Boston Globe reporter and coauthor of John F. Kerry ) focuses on Jefferson's much criticized yearlong governorship of Virginia during the last throes of the American Revolution. The British had invaded Virginia, the state militia was weak, and regular forces had not yet arrived. So Jefferson and the state legislature had to flee westward to avoid capture. By the time American forces, aided by the French, had forced a showdown at Yorktown in 1781, Jefferson's term in office had ended. Yet many held him responsible for Virginia's near disaster. That's allowed critics ever since to assail his behavior as cowardly and incompetent. Without making his book an open argument for the defense, Kranish relates the historical context and musters the facts that absolve Jefferson of the charges against him. It's hard to see how a stronger case could be made. Fluid prose makes the book readable; solid research makes it dependable. 21 b&w illus., 1 map. (Feb.) 

Table of Contents

Flight from Monticello

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