Dual political biography, emphasizing Madison’s partisan character, Jefferson’s controversial ideas, Virginia’s image and the primacy of state politics in the founding era.(“Best Books of 2010,” Kirkus; Starred Review: Publishers Weekly).
Random House, 2010; paperback 2013.
A reassessment of Jefferson’s retirement years, examining clues to the ex-president’s sexual imagination, his concern with a political legacy, religious beliefs, and perspective on facing death.
Lincoln Dreamt He Died
Based in part on medical lectures and published guides, in part on literal dreams drawn from diaries and letters of the late 18th and 19th centuries, a detailed meditation on the evolving sense of individuality among various classes of early Americans. Treats the question every history asks between the lines: As emotional beings, were they like us?
The Passions of Andrew Jackson
Reevaluation of the formative experience and manipulated image of one of America’s most controversial presidents. Examines the role of frontier violence in Jackson’s political education and the friendships that influenced his rise.