"Taylor... probes [Jefferson's] ambitious mission in clear prose and with great insight and erudition." —Annette Gordon-Reed, Atlantic
By turns entertaining and tragic, this elegant history reveals the origins of a great university in the dilemmas of Virginia slavery. Thomas Jefferson shares center stage with his family and fellow planters, but at the crux are the enslaved black families on whom they depend.
Taylor's account of Jefferson's campaign to save Virginia by building the university is dramatic, a contest for power and resources rich in political maneuver and eccentricities comic and cruel.