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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Best known as Jeremy Bentham's chief disciple and John Stuart Mill's father, James Mill (1773-1836) was a formidable and important Utilitarian thinker in his own right. This volume presents a wide sampling of his political writings and polemical essays.
I've just about comlpleted my graduate study, and being the smart fellow that I am, am past the point of elevating the founders (or anyone else for that matter)to demagogue status. Still, Jefferson is certainly one of the most brilliant people who'se ever put pen to parchment, and this book will show you why. Broken into sections on such topics as the Virginia constitution, the US constitution, religious liberty, and slavery, this edition assembles Jefferson's personal letters, bills in the virginia legislature, excerpts from his autobiography and even presidential addresses. Put together, they give us a great chunk of Jeffersonaian thought (libertarianism, anti-federalism, republicanism) and even insights into his personal life (yes, "dialogue between the head and the heart" is here; Peronally, I like reading that one aloud). The only criticisms I have are that the editing could've used a little alacrity. In that most of the items herein are personal letters which refer to specific historical events, persons, and goings on, the editors lack of introductory paragraphs, guiding footnotes, or references is a glaring omission. Now, I've studied most of the events and had only marginal trouble filling in details, but I pity she who has not read Jefferson before trying to make sense of the contexts without which the letters lose at least a bit of importance. Long and short: if you're familiar with Jefferson in detail, this is a great read. If not, read a good biography first. (Before I go, I should point out that for those used to the dry style of Jefferson's autobiography and "Notes on Virginia", his letters are so much more pleasent to read. He is terse, vivacious, and quite informal, by contrast. Don't let memories of late night slogs through "Notes on Virginia" dissuade you from this collection.) What are you standing there for? Procure this volume for your illustrious and most magnificent library!
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This is a really a great collection of Thomas Jefferson's views on liberty, slavery,democratic government, social policy in a republic, education, etc. Forget all of the "interpretations" or "revisionist" histories by professional historians, instead pick up this book and read about one of the greatest philosophers of human liberty and democracy. Reading Jefferson in his original words without the personal views of the historical crowd really brings out his true vision for a great republic. A great buy.