Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's

Here's the Amazon description:
The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and the meal that saved the republic. In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind this pivotal evening in American history, complete with wine lists, recipes, and more.
I was frankly disappointed in this book...very little about the dinner when Jefferson was Secretary of State for Washington...lots of politics, lots of conjecture on the part of the author, references to more well known and respected authors such as David McCullough, but if you're looking for a book about dinner, and wine and recipes, this isn't it. It does give an easy to understand description of some of the struggles Washington went through with his cabinet; the "two surging issues" referred to in the book blurb were the formation of a National Bank, and the designation of Washington D.C. as the nation's capital; it discusses Jefferson' differences with Hamilton; it paints Hamilton as a brilliant politician well loved by Washington; it drops in glimpses of Madison, and Henry Knox, but if it's history you're after, this isn't it either. If you have limited reading time, this wouldn't be a book I'd recommend spending it reading.


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