Book Review: Jefferson’s America by Julie M. Fenster


  • Print Length: 442 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307956482
  • Publisher: Crown (May 10, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2016
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B013ZNK5D0


Book Blurb:

The surprising story of how Thomas Jefferson commanded an unrivaled age of American exploration—and in presiding over that era of discovery, forged a great nation.
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, as Britain, France, Spain, and the United States all jockeyed for control of the vast expanses west of the Mississippi River, the stakes for American expansion were incalculably high. Even after the American purchase of the Louisiana Territory, Spain still coveted that land and was prepared to employ any means to retain it. With war expected at any moment, Jefferson played a game of strategy, putting on the ground the only Americans he could: a cadre of explorers who finally annexed it through courageous investigation.

Responsible for orchestrating the American push into the continent was President Thomas Jefferson. He most famously recruited Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led the Corps of Discovery to the Pacific, but at the same time there were other teams who did the same work, in places where it was even more crucial. William Dunbar, George Hunter, Thomas Freeman, Peter Custis, and the dauntless Zebulon Pike—all were dispatched on urgent missions to map the frontier and keep up a steady correspondence with Washington about their findings.

But they weren’t always well-matched—with each other and certainly not with a Spanish army of a thousand soldiers or more. These tensions threatened to undermine Jefferson’s goals for the nascent country, leaving the United States in danger of losing its foothold in the West. Deeply researched and inspiringly told, Jefferson’s America rediscovers the robust and often harrowing action from these seminal expeditions and illuminates the president’s vision for a continental America.

My Rating :

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 


My Review: 

I enjoyed reading Jefferson’s America the President, The Purchase, and The Explorers who Transformed a Nation so much. there were great stories that told about the men that were sent out to discover the passageways to the Pacific ocean and map the west. There were some colorful characters that I did not expect to encounter.

One of these explorers, John  Evans, was sent to be a go between for the United States and Spain that controlled so much of the area west of the Mississippi River. The Spanish  were controlling the expansion while in New Orleans and so the Evans  arrived there, spoke to the leaders of the Spanish government and was recruited to go into the wilderness, establish trade with the Native Americans. He was ordered to make peace and establish trade with the Mandan Indians  and plot the routes he took. He was happy to become an agent for Spain, until he reached south Dakota where he decided to become a freelance trader. His story was so fun to read. He was like always changing sides and sometimes was working for both governments at the same time.

That is just one of the stories that were so fascinating. The book is packed with stories and recounting of the travels of Meriwether Lewis and George Rogers Clark. These were known as some of  Jefferson’s men and they were actively engaged in discovering cities and towns all across the country. There are snippets of letters included in the book. So fascinating to see that President Jefferson spelled knowledge as “knoledge”. There are stories of women and children that lived harsh lives because of these early explorers and tradesmen. There is so much information about the Louisiana Purchase. A great deal of factual information complete with photo’s, letters, and human interest stories.

One of the main attractions of this Historic non Fiction book is the in-depth knowledge you gain about Thomas Jefferson.  He was way ahead of the time in his thinking. When it came to farming, governing, and exploring. He did not want just rough and ready explorers on these missions, he wanted educated men. He wanted philosophers, astronomers, biologists, and anthropologists to gather information about the entire country.  The projects were insistent on documenting their finds with drawings, copious notes and  detailed maps. He knew what he wanted and he gathered men of all ages to do the task at hand. It was an amazing adventure to read about. I was so impressed with Jefferson’s brain.

If you love history or are just curious about how America was populated, this is a wonderful opportunity to read all about that. reading about Lewis and Clark was especially poignant because I live in the same area that George Rogers Clark is from.  The High school here named after him.  Makes local history even more fun now that I know more about him.  I was provided this book by Blogging for books in exchange for this review. I have to admit I am a junkie for history, so I assure you the love I had for this subject, the writing and the anecdotal stories made my heart and my brain very happy. In this book some of the most obscure and some of the most recognizable names in American history are discussed in a personable and interesting way.


This is a great tool for learning in an easy to read, interesting and colorful book. If you home school or just love having informative and comprehensive books on History, this is the book for you. It covers many years of growth and expansion for the United States.


Where To Find:

Jefferson’s America the President, The Purchase, and The Explorers who Transformed a Nation is available in many formats. Kindle, Hardback, Audio book and CD. By clicking  the links shown  below.

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Audible