*edited to show how I received the book*I must note that I received this book through the History Book Club on Goodreads, through the Published as an advance copy, for which I am very grateful to both the History Book Club, and Random House, as well as the author, Mr. Meacham.This is a magnificent effort from it's very accomplished author. One truly feels as though you have a grasp of the 3rd President of the United States as a man, and a much deeper understanding of his younger days. The book is filled with fascinating passages and I cannot recommend it highly enough. However, I have one small issue which prevents me from giving it a 5th star (see end). The book is ostensibly about his use of personal and political power, and does make the case...without illustrating it. Time again we're told of the manner of management and of manipulation (Meacham is to be lauded for his even-handed and balanced approach to a man you can easily love or hate) but we're only provided a few examples of it. He whets my appetite for knowledge of the mechanics of his administration, but fails to sate it. I realize he might have wanted to avoid ranging into too technical an arena, and to keep the book in the spectrum of potential best-sellers, which he did, and the book has, but Jefferson's Aggressive-Passive methods are largely still a mystery to me at this point. I felt as though I needed about double the content for the period covering his time as Vice-President and President. I imagine that a couple of books on Madison will probably do the trick. However, it is a really good book, so I think in the end it wins back a star simply for being so much better than most of what there is to read. In comparison, it's a superb book. It just came so close to being the perfect accomplishment of it's mission, I wished it could have made that final step.