Books by Jr. Mapp

Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Following his earlier Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity (1989—not reviewed), Old Dominion professor Mapp offers a graceful, admiring assessment of the great democrat as President and as the aged but still intellectually vital ``Sage of Monticello.'' As President, Jefferson eased people's fears about the radical tendencies of his Democratic-Republican Party by ``taking things by the smooth handle.'' Mapp takes sharp issue with such Jefferson critics as Henry Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, who depicted the Virginian as both a hypocrite who violated his ``strict constructionist'' principles while in office and as a pacifist who left the nation woefully unprepared for the War of 1812. Instead, Mapp sees Jefferson as an activist, visionary chief executive who used his authority to order military action against the Barbary pirates, advance judicial reform, double the size of the nation through the Louisiana Purchase, and institute an embargo that kept peace with Great Britain while the US built up its navy. (Mapp does fault Jefferson for falling short of his libertarian ideals in condoning General James Wilkinson's trampling on civil liberties in New Orleans and in branding Aaron Burr as a traitor before his former Vice President came to trial.) Stepping down at the end of his second term in 1809, Jefferson battled debt, legal and family problems, and physical deterioration to shepherd the Univ. of Virginia from an innovative educational concept into actual physical existence—``one of the great triumphs of the human spirit,'' according to Mapp. An engrossing biography that pays full tribute to Jefferson's personal genius and political achievements. (B&w illustrations—not seen.) Read full book review >