The Long Affair by Conor Cruise O'Brien
Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



As controversial and explosive as it is elegant and learned, The Long Affair is Conor Cruise O'Brien's examination of Thomas Jefferson, as man and icon, through the critical lens of the French Revolution. O'Brien offers a provocative analysis of the supreme symbol of American history and political culture and challenges the traditional perceptions of both Jeffersonian history and the Jeffersonian legacy.

"The book is an attack on America's long affair with Jeffersonian ideology of radical individualism: an ideology that, by confusing Jefferson with a secular prophet, will destroy the United States from within."—David C. Ward, Boston Book Review

"With his background as a politician and a diplomat, O'Brien brings a broad perspective to his effort to define Jefferson's beliefs through the prism of his attitudes toward France. . . . This is an important work that makes an essential contribution to the overall picture of Jefferson."—Booklist

"O'Brien traces the roots of Jefferson's admiration for the revolution in France but notes that Jefferson's enthusiasm for France cooled in the 1790s, when French egalitarian ideals came to threaten the slave-based Southern economy that Jefferson supported."—Library Journal

"In O'Brien's opinion, it's time that Americans face the fact that Jefferson, long seen as a champion of the 'wronged masses,' was a racist who should not be placed on a pedestal in an increasingly multicultural United States."—Boston Phoenix

"O'Brien makes a well-argued revisionist contribution to the literature on Jefferson."—Kirkus Reviews

"O'Brien is right on target . . . determined not to let the evasions and cover-ups continue."—Forrest McDonald, National Review

"The Long Affair should be read by anyone interested in Jefferson—or in a good fight."—Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review


About Conor Cruise O'Brien

See more books from this Author
Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917-2008) was a leading Irish intellectual of his generation and had a distinguished career in public life as a diplomat, politician, government minister, writer, newspaper editor, critic, and scholar. He published numerous books in subjects such as history, biography, politics, and religion.
Published November 15, 1996 by University Of Chicago Press. 386 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Long Affair

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Irish scholar and former diplomat O'Brien (Ancestral Voices, 1995, etc.) examines two dark sides of the Jeffersonian legacy: his enthusiasm for the French Revolution, and his support for the slave-based Southern economy.

| Read Full Review of The Long Affair: Thomas Jeffe...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In The Great Melody, O'Brien wrote a masterful study of one of the great early opponents of the French Revolution, Edmund Burke. Now he applies his counterrevolutionary principles to an examination of

Nov 18 1996 | Read Full Review of The Long Affair: Thomas Jeffe...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Through plentiful direct quotations from his subject and his own effective analysis, O'Brien demonstrates that Jefferson's support of the French Revolution began to wane after such support no longer furthered his domestic political aims and when he came to see it as a threat to slavery.

| Read Full Review of The Long Affair: Thomas Jeffe...

London Review of Books

From the middle of this century, the people have paid tribute at the Jeffersonian holy places: what Merrill Peterson in his classic survey, The Jefferson Image in the American Mind (1960), calls the private Shrine and the public Temple: Monticello and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.

| Read Full Review of The Long Affair: Thomas Jeffe...

Reader Rating for The Long Affair

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review