The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation
It’s easy to set the Founding Fathers in a static place in history where they achieve greatness but exhibit no weaknesses—in short, to ignore their humanity. The Great Divide seeks to rectify this common mistake. Author Thomas Fleming shows the flaws and foibles as well as the strengths of these men, in particular Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Fleming specifically illustrates the differing leadership styles and ideologies that Jefferson and Washington held, which led to friction and ultimately a break in their friendship. Though representing both sides of the story, this book could not be called unbiased and openly extols the wisdom of Washington while deprecating the ideologies of Jefferson. From quotes provided from Jefferson’s letters and journals, he does appear the lesser man; however, the author harps on this, as if Washington is so real to him that he takes personal offense at any attacks. Though this slant can get a bit distracting at times, the author’s ability to see Washington and Jefferson as living personalities that leap off the pages of history allows him to create a highly readable book. The result is an enlightening read and interesting depiction of the personalities of Washington and Jefferson.
Da Capo Press