Myths and Men
Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson

Bernard Mayo


“The analogy of historian as detective has rarely been used so effectively. . . . Mayo’s persuasive reports are satisfying reading largely because he has done his detective spadework thoroughly. One enjoys seeing so many old friends freshly and neatly clothed.”
William and Mary Quarterly

“[Mayo] leads his audience with ease and grace through some basic historical questions to present a capsule evaluation, divorced as far as modern scholarship has succeeded, from myth and legend.”
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


In the role of “historian-detective” Bernard Mayo presents in lecture form three case histories in hero-worship. These abundantly illustrate the uses and abuses of history, revealing how the flesh-and-blood men, humanly fallible yet with the inspiring qualities of greatness, have been distorted and obscured by conflicting interpretations and by myths that defame and myths that glorify. The bright and dark images of three early American patriots are noted. The men themselves are evaluated as shapers of American tradition: Patrick Henry, the Trumpet of the Revolution; George Washington, the Sword; Thomas Jefferson, the Pen. Attention is given also to the makers of the myths, both idolaters and iconoclasts, and to the history of their myth-making. These lectures, delivered at Mercer University, were the second series of the annual Eugenia Dorothy Blount Lamar Memorial Lectures.

Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures

Page count: 84 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Bernard Mayo (1902–1979) studied and taught the early periods of American history, focusing on specific historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson. He is the author of numerous books including Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother and The Philosophy of Right and Wrong: An Introduction to Ethical Theory.