Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.
Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense.
In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.
Within hours of their departure, an inaccurate map and a series of bad decisions leave the group hopelessly lost in the depths of the Amazon jungle. What began as a career-making photo expedition quickly turned into a desperate struggle for survival.
The five men battle poisonous reptiles, hungry bugs, torrential rains, brutal heat, and an unforgiving landscape in an attempt to find their way back to civilization. They soon learn that survival is not only a physical, but a mental and spiritual challenge as well.
Lost in the Amazon is a gripping, sometimes humorous, and ultimately inspirational story about the human drive to survive, and about clinging to faith in the worst circumstances imaginable.