Revolutionary Brothers by Tom Chaffin

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Revolutionary Brothers:

This is a lovely reminder of why Thomas Jefferson sucks.

Quick synopsis:

A shortened dual biography of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson after the American Revolution and leading to the French Revolution.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Thomas Jefferson had his own daughter kidnapped. Go ahead, read the book.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

This is a fun little book which will clearly explain why I think the Marquis is awesome and Thomas Jefferson was over all pretty terrible. Chaffin does not have an axe to grind (I do! Reminder: I hate Thomas Jefferson) and he reports just the facts and some innuendo. When you report the facts then one of these guys looks a hell of a lot better than the other.

My Take on Revolutionary Brothers:

Tom Chaffin is a really good writer. His prose is free and easy and he keeps the story moving at a steady pace which can even keep a non-history nerd riveted.

I do have one overall complaint. The title of the book hinges on the relationship between Lafayette and Jefferson. Ultimately though, their interactions were not frequent and mostly happened through correspondence. Someone who doesn’t know this time in history may find the title misleading even though it was how most relationships during this time period. It’s ultimately minor, but worth pointing out if you are a history newbie.

All of that being said, Chaffin keeps it all interesting. You get the important parts of their lives during this time. Lafayette being too passionate and prideful for his own good. Jefferson being a creepy, slave-owning, and elitist jerk. It’s all I needed!


A great book if you don’t know either of the subjects very well. Great for someone who wants to dip their toe into the history pool. Buy it here!

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