With his critical and popular successes, Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson and Unwise Passions: A True Story of a Remarkable Woman and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth Century America, Alan Pell Crawford has established himself as an engaging and insightful interpreter of early American history.
Crawford's textured narratives of the personal as well as political lives of the Founders and their families have entertained and enlightened audiences as well as readers.
His next book, This Fierce People, a revisionist narrative history of the American Revolution, examines how the Founding Fathers themselves came belatedly to embrace the cause of independence-how, in responding to events "on the ground," they came to an entirely new understanding of the nature of leadership itself.
"We think of the Founders as men of marble, but they knew that human hearts (including their own) could be dark and tempestuous," the Wall Street Journal observed. "That is why they built their political systems with such care. Unwise Passions is the black velvet backdrop to an introductory course in political philosophy." It is "an unbeatable tale, which Alan Pell Crawford relates in [a] delightful book."
Twilight at Monticello was even more enthusiastically received. "Like all people, famous or almost unknown, Jefferson was a mass of contradictions," the Houston Chronicle noted. "Crawford explores them masterfully, thus indeed presenting a new Jefferson for a new generation."
Twilight at Monticello, a "beautifully written, evocative portrait of the Sage of Monticello in his retirement years is a welcome addition to the Jefferson bookshelf," writes Professor Peter Onuf, the Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia. "Juxtaposing affecting scenes of Jefferson's domestic life with fresh and illuminating perspectives on his subject's late-life political, philosophical, and spiritual preoccupations, Crawford's fine book [would] engage and reward a wide audience."
Twilight at Monticello, published by Random House in hardcover January 20008 and in paperback in February 2009, was a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection, a History Book Club Selection and a Washington Post Best Seller.
The Chicago Sun-Times called Twilight at Monticello "a fair, intimate and factual characterization of the man whose vision of self-government gave birth to the United States."
"Alan Pell Crawford treats his subject with grace and sympathetic understanding, and with keen penetration as well, showing the great man's contradictions (and hypocrisies) for what they were," the Wall Street Journal observed. "And he brings alive a milieu...Drawing on new archival sources, Mr. Crawford reconstructs daily life at Monticello and depicts a colorful supporting cast of eminent personages, family members and retainers."
According to Bloomberg News: "How this most remarkable man persevered, sometimes desperate enough to engage in dubious transactions, is the melancholy story historian Alan Pell Crawford tells with great subtlety and charm in Twilight at Monticello."
"Insightful analysis and lucid prose," Kirkus Review wrote, make this autumnal portrait a rewarding experience." "You might never look at Monticello in quite the same way again after reading this book." The Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Progress-Jefferson's own hometown newspaper-called it "a brave, even courageous book..."
A journalist as well as author and speaker, Crawford has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vogue, The Nation, National Review, The Los Angeles Times and The Weekly Standard. He has reviewed books for The Wall Street Journal for 15 years. During his years in Washington, D.C., Crawford was a speechwriter for a U.S. Senator and press secretary to a U.S Congressman. While researching Twilight at Monticello, Crawford held a residential fellowship at the International Center for Jefferson Studies.
His first book, Thunder on the Right, published when he was just 26, was called by The New Republic "a notable work of political and intellectual history."
A resident of Richmond, Virginia, Crawford is married to Sally Curran, a former associate director with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) who is now an editor with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Expertise: Best-Selling Author Education Writing/Publishing Women in Society
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