The Faith Middleton Show
10:47 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Authors of Generosity Unbound and The Women Jefferson Loved

Generosity Unbound: How American Philanthropy Can Strengthen the Economy and Expand the Middle Class

In Generosity Unbound, Claire Gaudiani mounts a spirited defense of philanthropic freedom addressed to conservatives, liberals and centrists. She acknowledges the good intentions of those who favor greater regulation of private philanthropy, but powerfully demonstrates the dangers of this approach.

But this book is more than a warning. Gaudiani also uncovers the fascinating history of philanthropy in America, showing how this nation’s distinctive tradition of citizen-to-citizen generosity has been a powerful engine of economic growth, social justice, and upward mobility.

Finally, Gaudiani calls on foundation leaders, legislators, and concerned citizens to take up anew the great challenge set forth by our nation’s Founders in the Declaration of Independence.  She proposes an all-out citizen-led effort to deliver on the Declaration’s promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of us, particularly our poorest citizens.  The success of such a ‘Declaration Initiative’ would enable us to justly celebrate the nation’s 250th birthday on July 4th, 2026.

The Women Jefferson Loved

Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson constructed a seemingly impenetrable wall between his public legacy and his private life, a division maintained by his family and the several traditional biographies written about this founding father. Now Virginia Scharff breaks down the barrier between Jefferson's public and private histories to offer an intriguing new portrait of this complicated and influential figure, as seen through the lives of a remarkable group of women.

Scharff brings together for the first time in one volume the stories of these diverse women, separated by race but related by blood, including Jefferson's mother, Jane Randolph; his wife, Martha; her half sister, Sally Hemings, his slave mistress; his daughters; and his granddaughters. "Their lives, their Revolutions, their vulnerabilities, shaped the choices Jefferson made, from the selection of words and ideas in his Declaration, to the endless building of his mountaintop mansion, to the vision of a great agrarian nation that powered his Louisiana Purchase," Scharff writes. Based on a wealth of sources, including family letters, and written with empathy and great insight, The Women Jefferson Loved is a welcome new look at this legendary American and one that offers a fresh twist on American history itself.

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