Hot Best Seller

Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America

Availability: Ready to download

The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander H The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and the meal that saved the republic. In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind this pivotal evening in American history, complete with wine lists, recipes, and more.


Compare

The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander H The Constitution was two years old and the United States was in serious danger. Bitter political rivalry between former allies and two surging issues that inflamed the nation led to grim talk of breaking up the union. Then a single great evening achieved compromises that led to America's great expansion. This book celebrates Thomas Jefferson and his two guests, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and the meal that saved the republic. In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind this pivotal evening in American history, complete with wine lists, recipes, and more.

30 review for Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America by Charles A. Cerami is concentrated in 1790 when Thomas Jefferson has returned from five years as Ambassador to France after agreeing to be Secretary of State to President George Washington. At that time the nation's temporary capital was New York City. John Adams was Vice-President, and also working with the president was James Madison, floor leader in the new House of Representatives following his suc Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America by Charles A. Cerami is concentrated in 1790 when Thomas Jefferson has returned from five years as Ambassador to France after agreeing to be Secretary of State to President George Washington. At that time the nation's temporary capital was New York City. John Adams was Vice-President, and also working with the president was James Madison, floor leader in the new House of Representatives following his success during the opening session of the first Continental Congress. Alexander Hamilton was leading the new Treasury Department and had become a very close adviser to the president. Jefferson realized that there were issues that threatened to tear the new and struggling democracy apart unless a compromise was reached regarding the passage of the "Assumption Bill" as proposed by Hamilton ensuring that the national debt would be paid with the states proportionately sharing the burden. It was at that point that Jefferson invited Hamilton and Madison to dinner in an attempt to persuade Hamilton to the compromise proposed by both Madison and Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson had been known as a most gracious host in his beloved Monticello and tried to do the same in his temporary residence in New York City. The many courses and the fine wines from both France and Italy are detailed much later in the book, as well as the three men agreeing on the best course of action for the country, each vowing to bring their different factions along to the proposed compromise. There is some controversy whether this dinner ever took place, but it was interesting reading and a good overview of that pivotal time in our history. In addition, there are some recipes from Monticello, a must for all foodies. ". . . . Jefferson vigorously pursued the gallant attempt to be an elegant short-term host in his temporary quarters in New York City. Even in that limited time, there was more than one dinner at Mr. Jefferson's that would affect the nation--and that would reverberate in the history of the United States."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Despite some weaknesses, this short history was really a pleasure to read and refreshing. I'm not sure how the author rates as an historian but his account of the struggles between Jefferson and Madison on the one hand and Hamilton seems sufficiently factual to be credit-worthy. Although Cerami injects gratuitous praise for Chernow's biography of Hamilton, it was a pleasure to find that an author can still be published who doesn't join anti-Jefferson campaign. None of the three - Madison, Hamilt Despite some weaknesses, this short history was really a pleasure to read and refreshing. I'm not sure how the author rates as an historian but his account of the struggles between Jefferson and Madison on the one hand and Hamilton seems sufficiently factual to be credit-worthy. Although Cerami injects gratuitous praise for Chernow's biography of Hamilton, it was a pleasure to find that an author can still be published who doesn't join anti-Jefferson campaign. None of the three - Madison, Hamilton, or Jefferson - escapes strong disapproval. The failure of the three exceptional men to work as a team is a tragic story that I'm sure has been a recurring theme in history. But it is still the story of a tragic waste. The author is apparently not a constitutional law scholar. He accepts as given certain matters regarding the Constitution -- such as judicial review -- that are in fact conclusions that can be credibly challenged and often have been. Still, I was won over by what seemed to me a balanced and sincere effort to present an account of the personal interactions that resulted in passage of Hamilton's "assumption bill" and a decision to create the District of Columbia on the Potomac.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    If you are someone who doesn't know much about this time period and wants to learn more, this book is a very digestible way to understand this information. If you are someone who already knows much about this time period, much of this book will be repetition of things you already know. The "Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's" only comprises one chapter of the book, and while the reader can tell the author firmly believes this dinner changed the course of history, he spends a significant amount of time go If you are someone who doesn't know much about this time period and wants to learn more, this book is a very digestible way to understand this information. If you are someone who already knows much about this time period, much of this book will be repetition of things you already know. The "Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's" only comprises one chapter of the book, and while the reader can tell the author firmly believes this dinner changed the course of history, he spends a significant amount of time going off on tangents about other historical events/players. Despite its flaws, an enjoyable read that doesn't take much time to finish.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    Once America won its freedom from Great Britain it wasn't all smooth sailing. There were many disagreements about our final form of government, paying for war debts, and even where to put the capitol city. And it is well known that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson each had strong feelings about how these and other issues should be resolved. Generally, Hamilton was for a larger central government which the others opposed. Thomas Jefferson came up with the idea of having the Once America won its freedom from Great Britain it wasn't all smooth sailing. There were many disagreements about our final form of government, paying for war debts, and even where to put the capitol city. And it is well known that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson each had strong feelings about how these and other issues should be resolved. Generally, Hamilton was for a larger central government which the others opposed. Thomas Jefferson came up with the idea of having the others over for a quiet, elegant, and private dinner where they could discuss the issues and see if they could reach a common agreement. The courses and the timing were such that the servants would bring dishes in and then leave them alone so that they were not able to overhear what was discussed. Many states had differing opinions about how debts should be handled as some had almost none outstanding after the war and other had significant amounts. Some states wanted the prestige as well as the important government jobs that would accompany having the nation's capitol within their borders. The author describes the specific courses that were prepared and served as well as the discussions of each of the issues and how they were eventually resolved with results that each of them felt comfortable supporting. It was an interesting look at how some of the wrinkles were ironed out in the early stages of the new independent America.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    Interesting, but not really enthralling, view of early American politics and personalities. The centerpiece is an intimate dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson to craft a compromise between James Madison and Alexander Hamilton which resulted in the location of the young nation's capital and it assuming the states' war debts. The information will probably be new to all but history experts. Interesting, but not really enthralling, view of early American politics and personalities. The centerpiece is an intimate dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson to craft a compromise between James Madison and Alexander Hamilton which resulted in the location of the young nation's capital and it assuming the states' war debts. The information will probably be new to all but history experts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    This had the potential to be illuminating; it failed. In the early, formative days of the American republic, the disagreements of the individual founders portended more than they would now. The fresh slate of America was easily stamped, but easily damaged as well. One such fissure formed between Hamilton and Jefferson. The issue concerned the rightful division of powers between the state and federal governments. Jefferson, Hamilton and Jefferson's ally James Madison met for the titular dinner to d This had the potential to be illuminating; it failed. In the early, formative days of the American republic, the disagreements of the individual founders portended more than they would now. The fresh slate of America was easily stamped, but easily damaged as well. One such fissure formed between Hamilton and Jefferson. The issue concerned the rightful division of powers between the state and federal governments. Jefferson, Hamilton and Jefferson's ally James Madison met for the titular dinner to discuss the matter. The historical implications of this dinner are obvious, and Cerami wastes none of it, stressing the grand moment of this one event. It's a neat hook for a short book; it allows us to see these figures in a more personal light. It also allows Cerami to comment on the elegance of the occasion, which he enjoys: the food and wine are detailed course by course, and the book culminates in a collection of historical recipes. I enjoyed all this for it's own sake, but it sat uncomfortably with the political storyline. The two aspects feel out of context with each other. Cerami doesn't skimp on the politics, but he doesn't seem to enjoy the historical and political background of the titular dinner as much as the dinner itself. As a result, neither did I.  The meeting and its repercussions in American history are hastily and incompletely summarized in a short conclusion that's not much use. As a result, it's hard to see that the occasion was as noteworthy as Cerami claims it is. I only really got half this book; the other half is tacked on and too easily drops off in favor of the more enjoyable- but less substantive- side. 

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    The title is misleading….somehow I expected more about the dinner. Not sure what….but a bit more than one little chapter. Otherwise…this book was fine for me since I forgot most of my history and prefer small doses & more anecdotal. I was not aware of all the friction between Jefferson and Hamilton with Washington trying to keep the peace. I did enjoy the debates on how they ended up with Washington, DC being the capital. There was many other issues....which in my school days were so boring…and The title is misleading….somehow I expected more about the dinner. Not sure what….but a bit more than one little chapter. Otherwise…this book was fine for me since I forgot most of my history and prefer small doses & more anecdotal. I was not aware of all the friction between Jefferson and Hamilton with Washington trying to keep the peace. I did enjoy the debates on how they ended up with Washington, DC being the capital. There was many other issues....which in my school days were so boring…and now being OLDER, I can appreciate and understand.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    About 3/4s of the way through, I quit reading this book because I was tired of the author twisting himself into knots trying to make all of the founding fathers look good all of the time. The founders were human; they made mistakes and occasionally behaved badly, just like the rest of us. Get over it, already. Too bad, because the economics and politics of the situation have some remarkable parallels to today's situation. About 3/4s of the way through, I quit reading this book because I was tired of the author twisting himself into knots trying to make all of the founding fathers look good all of the time. The founders were human; they made mistakes and occasionally behaved badly, just like the rest of us. Get over it, already. Too bad, because the economics and politics of the situation have some remarkable parallels to today's situation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    One of the best books I've ever read, The way that this whole dinner helped to form a nation, Cerami made me feel like I was watching every piece of this story unfold. Great book! One of the best books I've ever read, The way that this whole dinner helped to form a nation, Cerami made me feel like I was watching every piece of this story unfold. Great book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ishani Desai

    When I first saw this book, I became uncontrollably excited--I would finally be able to read about the events surrounding my favorite song, the "Room Where it Happened" in the hit musical production, Hamilton. Well. Fast forward 157 pages later (I couldn't even finish the book) and here I am, disappointed and let down by this novel. Don't get me wrong--Cerami beautifully articulates the background of the characters involved, making them seemingly alive. The explanations for the compromise includ When I first saw this book, I became uncontrollably excited--I would finally be able to read about the events surrounding my favorite song, the "Room Where it Happened" in the hit musical production, Hamilton. Well. Fast forward 157 pages later (I couldn't even finish the book) and here I am, disappointed and let down by this novel. Don't get me wrong--Cerami beautifully articulates the background of the characters involved, making them seemingly alive. The explanations for the compromise including the why, when, where and how left me completely satisfied and throughly enthralled. However. This author tends to deviate from the subject of the story-- the COMPROMISE. There are bits and pieces written, that are relevant to the time period, but do not have anything to do with what first encouraged me to pick up this book. I couldn't even finish this novel because it got to a point where it was just annoying. I could almost hear my literature teacher reminding us about THEME--that every little bit that we write has to relate back to the THEME. Because this novel did not do so, it was rather annoying. Though I am disappointed, the author truly does a wonderful job detailing and shading in the events that led to our capital becoming Washington D.C., changing American history forever.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mardy

    With my 12-year-old daughter obsessed with the Hamilton musical (we listened to it so many times I can sing all of the parts, in harmony with her) I knew I had to learn more about this remarkable man and the equally remarkable men surrounding him. Since her favorite song is "The Room Where it Happened", naturally, I started with Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's. I was not disappointed! Although the author takes liberties in some areas, i.e. describing the menu and wines in detail and specific reactions With my 12-year-old daughter obsessed with the Hamilton musical (we listened to it so many times I can sing all of the parts, in harmony with her) I knew I had to learn more about this remarkable man and the equally remarkable men surrounding him. Since her favorite song is "The Room Where it Happened", naturally, I started with Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's. I was not disappointed! Although the author takes liberties in some areas, i.e. describing the menu and wines in detail and specific reactions in conversation, he bases them on observations he noted in other documented accounts. The dinner itself is only a small part of the book, as it was only one night, but the book is about so much more than just the meal. Cerami is very detailed on what led up to this unlikely trio working together and follows up on its lifelong ramifications. Without all of what came before and what happened after, it would have simply been conjecture because, after all, no one else was in the room where it happened.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Less about the actual meal, and more about the minds gathered over dinner. This is a good introduction for Hamilton fans to find out more what happens in "The Room Where It Happens", providing a balanced view of Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson. More hardcore history fans may find this short, maybe not enough. But it was good enough for me, wetting my appetite for more historical accounts for future reading. And some how I blanked out on the recipes? Eh, the men are the main course, and I am not Less about the actual meal, and more about the minds gathered over dinner. This is a good introduction for Hamilton fans to find out more what happens in "The Room Where It Happens", providing a balanced view of Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson. More hardcore history fans may find this short, maybe not enough. But it was good enough for me, wetting my appetite for more historical accounts for future reading. And some how I blanked out on the recipes? Eh, the men are the main course, and I am not complaining.

  13. 5 out of 5

    VerJean

    Another that Winston and I had "read" to us via audio. More fascinating history that kept our attention up to and including the very last minutes. "I never knew that", was a frequent comment. "Run that back a few minutes" - often requested by either of us to be sure we didn't miss a word or a context. Not actually as much info on the wine - but the facts of the guests and the dinner conversations outweigh that disappointment. ~ Smile ~ Also covers much ore "territory" and info than just the dinn Another that Winston and I had "read" to us via audio. More fascinating history that kept our attention up to and including the very last minutes. "I never knew that", was a frequent comment. "Run that back a few minutes" - often requested by either of us to be sure we didn't miss a word or a context. Not actually as much info on the wine - but the facts of the guests and the dinner conversations outweigh that disappointment. ~ Smile ~ Also covers much ore "territory" and info than just the dinner party. excellent history reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    The book is well written, with strong characterization and well reasoned interpretations. The book focuses on the rivalry between Hamilton and Jefferson & Madison. While the dinner is the central aspect, the author covers their full careers, focusing on their time in Washington’s cabinet. The author assumes zero knowledge of his readers for this period so it would be a good place to start exploring this key point in American history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaret

    This book focused on the life and career of Thomas Jefferson during the time between the Presidency of George Washington and his own. I was expecting more time to be spent on the Assumption plan proposed by Alexander Hamilton, but it took up maybe a chapter of the book. There was a lot of time spent on the rivalry between Hamilton and Jefferson, though. Even though it was not what I expected, it was an easy to read history. The writing was fluid and did not read like a textbook. The stories were This book focused on the life and career of Thomas Jefferson during the time between the Presidency of George Washington and his own. I was expecting more time to be spent on the Assumption plan proposed by Alexander Hamilton, but it took up maybe a chapter of the book. There was a lot of time spent on the rivalry between Hamilton and Jefferson, though. Even though it was not what I expected, it was an easy to read history. The writing was fluid and did not read like a textbook. The stories were interesting, and the author attempted to refrain from bias.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Simon Bullock

    If you pick this up hoping for some riveting dinner conversation between some founding fathers', you will be disappointed. The book delivered some interesting interpersonal relations and their motivations during the pivotal point in time. People who have read on Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison prior will possibly glean new details as their lives intertwined through time. If you pick this up hoping for some riveting dinner conversation between some founding fathers', you will be disappointed. The book delivered some interesting interpersonal relations and their motivations during the pivotal point in time. People who have read on Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison prior will possibly glean new details as their lives intertwined through time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Holly Bennett

    Finally finished. Lots of info on Hamilton, Washington, Madison, and Jefferson. Well folks, politics haven’t changed much as far as personalities go. BUT, and it is a big BUT, the men who wrote our Constitution and began our government DID put their personal disputes aside for their country. Something today’s politicians know nothing about country first.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    Much of this is retread for me except for Washington relying so much on Hamilton, blech, and Jefferson aligning so much with Maddison. I'm now off to spend some much need and belated time with Madison, hopefully, able to ignore his wife who people love, yet made Mary Todd Lincoln look mellow after her husband's death. Much of this is retread for me except for Washington relying so much on Hamilton, blech, and Jefferson aligning so much with Maddison. I'm now off to spend some much need and belated time with Madison, hopefully, able to ignore his wife who people love, yet made Mary Todd Lincoln look mellow after her husband's death.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Mccormack

    Compelling insight about how adversaries can hold on to their principles and yet work thing out. I think we used to call that compromise! Nothing saccharine about this deal each attempted to play the other - and still America WON!

  20. 5 out of 5

    C. William

    this book should be read if you want to learn about behind the close door about the setup of our country. It's amazing that the foundation for this republic came from a dinner in New York City in 1791. this book should be read if you want to learn about behind the close door about the setup of our country. It's amazing that the foundation for this republic came from a dinner in New York City in 1791.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monicaaa

    Library Journal claims that "Cerami wittily recounts the evening in rich detail" yet he just spends one chapter on the actual dinner. 125 pages lead up to the dinner with introductory information and neat little tidbits. Then you have eleven and a half pages about the dinner. And then the rest of the book is what happens afterwards and more neat little tidbits. While I enjoyed the neat little tidbits like Jefferson's tension headaches, Washington getting pains in his arms when he wrote to his mo Library Journal claims that "Cerami wittily recounts the evening in rich detail" yet he just spends one chapter on the actual dinner. 125 pages lead up to the dinner with introductory information and neat little tidbits. Then you have eleven and a half pages about the dinner. And then the rest of the book is what happens afterwards and more neat little tidbits. While I enjoyed the neat little tidbits like Jefferson's tension headaches, Washington getting pains in his arms when he wrote to his mother, Henry Knox and his wife weighing 300 pounds each and throwing amazing dinner parties, the Maria Reynolds affair, etc they really had no place in this book. What I thought would be a text about the dinner that changed America where Madison/Jefferson agreed to assumption and Hamilton agreed to let the capital be in the Potomac region, really became a story about why Hamilton and Jefferson hated each other. There's plenty of texts that analyze their relationship. What I wanted to know was how the dinner came about, the letters exchanged, the five great wines served(the author only mentions three), the food served, what could have been said, and the process that came after the dinner. For the most part this book felt like a bunch of random stories all jumbled into one. It felt like the author was distracted constantly from the actual topic of the book. And the title and description in the back were so misleading. There's also the issue that the author didn't include many sources. If I already didn't know about half this information, I'd be questioning how valid the book actually was. His bibliography is 2.25 pages long, and the actual text of the book is 227 pages long. I've written a paper for a class that was 12 pages long and it had 1.25 pages in it's bibliography. The author's research was minimal for a text this long and a topic this analyzed. With the many stories the author included, I would have expected a bibliography that was much longer. All in all, while Dinner at Jefferson's is an enjoyable read, it's not the most trustworthy book about history to read. I understand that it wasn't published by a university press and was written mainly for the public, but I feel like the author didn't take the book seriously enough to read as much information about it. It felt he started off with the idea to write about the dinner, but then decided to fill it with neat stories instead. This doesn't take away from how enjoyable the book was, just rather disappointing in the way it was presented and how the the description didn't match the text of the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ebster Davis

    "The history of a nation is sometimes written in such brief paragraphs that are barely audible amid the churning sounds of the ages. This book is an account on the birth of democratic factionalism in America, and how it's founders were able to (temporarily) put aside their differences to accomplish a common goal. It involved a lot of yummy food, and drink, and a bit of polite (not just civil) conversation. Somehow I think there's a principle we can all learn from in this, but I digress... It's "The history of a nation is sometimes written in such brief paragraphs that are barely audible amid the churning sounds of the ages. This book is an account on the birth of democratic factionalism in America, and how it's founders were able to (temporarily) put aside their differences to accomplish a common goal. It involved a lot of yummy food, and drink, and a bit of polite (not just civil) conversation. Somehow I think there's a principle we can all learn from in this, but I digress... It's written in a easy, conversational style and makes excellent use of the modern perspective: encouraging us to think critically of all veiwpoints while still awknoleging the world in which these men lived. Weither or not we think a particular perspective is valid, we can still understand why its supporters believed it to be so. I'd like to say my favourite part of the book is the dinner chapter and the recipies at the end, (because honestly they sound delicious) but really the whole thing is very thoughtful and I quite enjoyed it. I recommend this to casual historians. You don't have to worry about knowing a whole lot about the time period politically because this book will school you and introduce you to some quite memorable characters along the way. Notes: Going into this book, I wondered how the federalist and the democratic republicans were roughly the equivalent of today's "democrats" and "republicans" and I don't really think they are. Its like a sandwich cut diagonally instead of horizontally. A lot if the issues they were fighting tooth and nail over are things we don't give a care about, or they'd be like, "duh!" Things....which makes me wonder what Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson would make of politics today.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David R.

    I am conflicted on this offering by Mr. Cerami. On the plus side it's very readable, good paced, and persuasive with respect to Cerami's theory about the oft-referenced and mysterious dinner involving Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison. And there are fascinating recipes from the dinner in the appendix! Unfortunately, it has problems. One is that a work of this type should be well-referenced: it isn't. There is a shocking paucity of footnotes and document citations. The other is that's it's a conspi I am conflicted on this offering by Mr. Cerami. On the plus side it's very readable, good paced, and persuasive with respect to Cerami's theory about the oft-referenced and mysterious dinner involving Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison. And there are fascinating recipes from the dinner in the appendix! Unfortunately, it has problems. One is that a work of this type should be well-referenced: it isn't. There is a shocking paucity of footnotes and document citations. The other is that's it's a conspicuous hagiography of Jefferson. Something so worshipful is a dubious substitute for an objective historical treatment. Jefferson made more than a few political blunders in his time (the Embargo of 1809 and the vendetta against Aaron Burr being the biggest, but one could arguably add his whiny encounters with President Washington and his poor service as Vice President and Governor of Virginia), so it's difficult to accept at face value a proposition that he masterfully manipulated the Assumption Bill-Capital Site "compromise" at a "Mission: Impossible" level, outsmarting and outflanking every other figure of consequence at the time. Please read this one with caution and, ideally, pair with a more skeptical treatment.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Ya know, I think I got a pretty good idea of the circumstances surrounding the famous dinner Compromise of 1790 from this book. However, the dinner itself was only covered in one chapter and filled with conjecture trying to pass itself off as fact. Absolutely NOTHING in this booked is cited and the author likes to insert dialogue that is also un-cited, so the reader is left guessing as to if it is a real quote or simply artistic license. The title of the book is very misleading; as I said, the d Ya know, I think I got a pretty good idea of the circumstances surrounding the famous dinner Compromise of 1790 from this book. However, the dinner itself was only covered in one chapter and filled with conjecture trying to pass itself off as fact. Absolutely NOTHING in this booked is cited and the author likes to insert dialogue that is also un-cited, so the reader is left guessing as to if it is a real quote or simply artistic license. The title of the book is very misleading; as I said, the dinner is only discussed in one chapter. No one knows what food was served there, but the author likes to believe he knows. However, he does not state in the chapter that he is simply using recipes used at Monticello and hoping they were maybe served that night. No, you have to find that out by turning to the back of the book and reading that in some strange "author's notes." The book is misnamed and misleading. It's more about Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison during the Washington administration. Would not reccomend unless you are looking for a fairly simply overview of the before and after of "the room where it happens."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    The title and subtitle caught my eye on a recent tour of Monticello. And, despite a decent knowledge of U.S. history, I did not remember learning about the turning-point dinner hosted by Jefferson and attended by Madison and Hamilton. I held off on picking up the book until my book club could begin Ellis' "Founding Brothers," which includes the dinner as one of six portraits of the interrelationships between the Founding Fathers. The chapter describing said dinner moved quickly, but, was placed The title and subtitle caught my eye on a recent tour of Monticello. And, despite a decent knowledge of U.S. history, I did not remember learning about the turning-point dinner hosted by Jefferson and attended by Madison and Hamilton. I held off on picking up the book until my book club could begin Ellis' "Founding Brothers," which includes the dinner as one of six portraits of the interrelationships between the Founding Fathers. The chapter describing said dinner moved quickly, but, was placed in the middle of a book filled with interesting, but not necessarily related, historical issues and events. For example, there are sections covering Jefferson's Vice Presidency and Presidency, which were interesting, but not tied back to the pivotal dinner. There are several pages devoted to Benjamin Banneker, about whom the author wrote a separate book. This very interesting figure simply did not fit into the great compromise forged at a very private dinner. So, this is an okay attempt at bringing a dusty footnote to early U.S. history to light.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Greg Western

    This is a decent book dealing mostly with Jefferson and Hamilton, but also touching on Washington and Madison. It is filled with many interesting stories, mainly about the period after the Constitution, when George Washington was in his first term. The dinner in the title is an important moment as political adversaries... enemies found a compromise on the assumption of debt, that was a hot button issue. The story of the dinner is really only a small part of the book, so it is a little strange th This is a decent book dealing mostly with Jefferson and Hamilton, but also touching on Washington and Madison. It is filled with many interesting stories, mainly about the period after the Constitution, when George Washington was in his first term. The dinner in the title is an important moment as political adversaries... enemies found a compromise on the assumption of debt, that was a hot button issue. The story of the dinner is really only a small part of the book, so it is a little strange that it gets the name. I come away from the book with admiration for Jefferson and Madison as political tag team. Hamilton seems vindicated from everything, but making bad decisions about having an affair and then how he dealt with it. Washington comes across as a wise, but unfortunate figure as president, as he was having to deal with the squabbles of the men around him. It is a good book, and can be summed possibly as light history.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Fascinating...and tiresome. The details of the issues in the last decade of eighteenth century America and how they were resolved is really interesting. Some of my friends on Goodreads who know more about this than I do seem to feel that the book is not strictly accurate, that it credits Jefferson with too much. But they didn't say it was wholly biased. The dinner scene is only one chapter in the middle of the book. I had only two problems with Mr Cerami's writing. One, he belabors things. Two Fascinating...and tiresome. The details of the issues in the last decade of eighteenth century America and how they were resolved is really interesting. Some of my friends on Goodreads who know more about this than I do seem to feel that the book is not strictly accurate, that it credits Jefferson with too much. But they didn't say it was wholly biased. The dinner scene is only one chapter in the middle of the book. I had only two problems with Mr Cerami's writing. One, he belabors things. Two, he twists himself into knots trying to show how noble and good the Founders were at all times and in all circumstances, notwithstanding the pettiness, foolishness and fierce infighting that he is also explaining.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mai

    I chose to listen to this book when my Hamiltunes induced obsession with Colonial America and the Founding Fathers had me looking through my libraries online catalog for something that would satisfy while waiting for my copy of Chernow's Hamilton biography to arrive and I definitely have no regrets. While the actual tale of "The Room Where It Happens" is quite short (a couple chapters in the middle), the set up and aftermath are interesting and Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison's contributions and I chose to listen to this book when my Hamiltunes induced obsession with Colonial America and the Founding Fathers had me looking through my libraries online catalog for something that would satisfy while waiting for my copy of Chernow's Hamilton biography to arrive and I definitely have no regrets. While the actual tale of "The Room Where It Happens" is quite short (a couple chapters in the middle), the set up and aftermath are interesting and Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison's contributions and opinions are given equal weight and proper skepticism for what they believed was true and what were part of the smear campaign against each other. Dufris is an excellent narrator making it easy to listen and pay attention.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Don

    A detailed snapshot of 1789, thought-provoking. Credit, residence, turmoil in Europe were significant issues. George and Alex, Tom 5 years in France back in 89, Madison research and belief that centralized power tends to corruption and government failure, equal vote a solution, John Qs affinity for Tom, George example of showing-up to encourage the 87 convention, Alex belief in property rights per Fed papers, Morris support, Alex 2-50K loans, May 90 pneumonia of George, need to borrow from UK, S A detailed snapshot of 1789, thought-provoking. Credit, residence, turmoil in Europe were significant issues. George and Alex, Tom 5 years in France back in 89, Madison research and belief that centralized power tends to corruption and government failure, equal vote a solution, John Qs affinity for Tom, George example of showing-up to encourage the 87 convention, Alex belief in property rights per Fed papers, Morris support, Alex 2-50K loans, May 90 pneumonia of George, need to borrow from UK, Swiss, Dutch. Madison skill to resolve issues of Constitution, assumption of state debts and residence DC issue.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Trenchologist

    Not quite what it's billed to be, but still very enjoyable. The evening in question that is said to be unraveled here is really more a fulcrum, with the events leading to and the events that played out after the teetering axes at either side. Despite being quite against expectation--only one brief chapter detailed the dinner--the entire 'plot' and intrigue was still there, built, bit by bit, with fresh investigations into the dynamics of power and personalities involved, putting several of the F Not quite what it's billed to be, but still very enjoyable. The evening in question that is said to be unraveled here is really more a fulcrum, with the events leading to and the events that played out after the teetering axes at either side. Despite being quite against expectation--only one brief chapter detailed the dinner--the entire 'plot' and intrigue was still there, built, bit by bit, with fresh investigations into the dynamics of power and personalities involved, putting several of the Founding Fathers in a new light of rarely discussed conflict, personal grudges and political gambits.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.