"The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation"

Jun 18, 2015

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Thomas Fleming, a prolific historian and historical novelist who has contributed articles to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and other magazines -- and who has written more than 50 books. Fleming tells us about his newest work, "The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Booklist: "Fleming looks beyond the standard history of the founding and early years of the nation to detail the contrasts in the backgrounds and personalities of [both Washington and Jefferson].... [He offers] a fascinating look at American history from the perspective of personal relationships and political ideals." And further, from Kirkus Reviews: "Fleming delivers a vivid, opinionated history of this conflict.... Among historians, Jefferson's star has been falling for 50 years. Fleming's frank hostility puts him at the far end of the scale, but [the author] makes a fascinating case that Jefferson's charisma -- which peaked early with the Declaration of Independence -- was accompanied by fanciful political beliefs that continue to exert a malign influence on the office of the presidency."