The Head and Heart of Thomas Jefferson, 1954

This impressionistic biography of Thomas Jefferson, the culmination of more than a decade of research, reflects the author’s swelling confidence in agrarian, decentralized American democracy in the Jeffersonian mold. The success of Carl Sandburg’s series of books on Abraham Lincoln helps convince Dos Passos of the need for similar treatment of Thomas Jefferson.

“I think John Dos Passos has done a great service to his country and the free world by lending his talents to this task,” writes Max Eastman. “He has revived the heart and mind of Jefferson, not by psycho-analytical lucubrations or soulful gush, but in the main by telling story after story of those whose lives and thoughts impinged upon his. And Jefferson’s mind and heart are so livingly related to our problems today that the result seems hardly to be history.”

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