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The Long Affair

Conor Cruise O’Brien
Date Published
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‘A spirited attack on Thomas Jefferson . . . a quietly devastating foray into the scripture of the American Revolution.’ Frank Callanan, Irish Times

Thomas Jefferson, American Minister to France 1785-9, was an enthusiast for the French Revolution and believed its virtues could be exported back to an America that had waned morally since its own great revolutionary ‘moment’. In this conviction Jefferson was both championing a cause and playing good populist politics. But Conor Cruise O’Brien proposes – in this magisterial 1998 work – that Jefferson’s own passions waned in the America of the 1790s once French egalitarian ideals ran up against the slave-based Southern economy he supported.

‘His thesis will seem like heresy to many people in America . . . but O’Brien makes out a good case.’ Sunday Telegraph

The Long Affair should be read by anyone interested in Jefferson – or in a good fight.’ New York Times Book Review

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