Lots of people ask us for recommendations for which Jefferson biography to read, but the choices are so many and people’s tastes so varied that answering this question is always a bit tricky. So I thought I’d ask the audience: which would you recommend? I’ll prime the pump with a list of possibilities (in order of publication, lest you think I am trying to suggest some sort of ranking), but feel free to write in your own candidate!
Henry Randall’s Life of Thomas Jefferson(1857). One of the first major Jefferson biographies. Perhaps prone to a very nineteenth-century romanticizing of Jefferson and his times, but on the other hand, Randall had an in with Jefferson’s family members, so his biography is chock-full of great anecdotes and stories that are found nowhere else. (Also, some Jefferson documents which are now found nowhere else)