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The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – November 10, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (November 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375752188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375752186
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Jefferson aspired beyond the ambition of a nationality,
and embraced in his view the whole future of man."
--Henry Adams

About the Author

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the third president of the United States, left a vast literary legacy in the form of
journal entries, notes, addresses, and seventy thousand letters. Jefferson remains one of the country's most extraordinary figures;
as well as president he was a brilliant statesman, architect, scientist, naturalist, educator, and public servant. At a dinner for Nobel Prize recipients, John F. Kennedy said that his guests were "the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
This volume of his works, edited by Adrienne Koch and William Peden, represents many of Jefferson's most important contributions to American political thought. It includes the Autobiography, which contains the original and revised version of the Declaration of Independence; the Anas, or Notes (1791-1809); Biographical Sketches; selections from Notes on Virginia, the Travel Journals, and Essay on Anglo-Saxon; a portion of his public papers, including his first and second inaugural addresses, and over two hundred letters. The editors have provided a general introduction and introductory notes that precede the major works.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By G. F Gori on April 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This study is a wonderful compilation of the life and writings of Thomas Jefferson. The introduction by Koch and Peden of Jefferson's long and fruitful life is rich and complete. Jefferson's greatness shines forth in the pages of this volume. His Anas, Autobiography, Essay of the Anglo Saxon language, Notes on Virginia, And his numerous public papers and letters show the reader the depth of this great man. Koch and Peden clearly admire Jefferon which is a welcome respite from the sad and anti-intellectual deconstructionist philosophy of modern historians. No PC here. For a student of Jefferson, or someone attempting to familiarize themselves with his ideals, this is a great buy!
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Baltic Books on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
We added this book to our library when I was doing research for a doctoral project on Racism. In one volume, is Jefferson's autobiography, travel journals, essays, biographies of other historical figures, notes and correspondence. It is a wealth of material into a foundation stone personality of our American identity.
Lately Jefferson has drawn fire because of his position on slavery and his philandering activities as a plantation owner. Still, within this volume you can observe the full story historical context provides.
In my favorite passage in connection with the slavery issue he writes,
"And can the liberties of a nation be though secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of thepeople that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers,nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events; that it may become probably by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest." (Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII; p. 278 Modern Library Edition)
I think every family should have a copy of this volume in their library. It is enlightening, powerful and life changing material.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. LEIGH on August 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Because the letters and other writings have been written in the English of Jefferson's time, the book is somewhat difficult to read. I had to read it slowly to take in Jefferson's ideas and feelings. The book includes the Declaration of Independence which spells out the reasons for the American colonies to declare independence from Britain. Jefferson's letters to John Adams are included as well. Adams and Jefferson were long time friends but became disconnected later in their lives. Finally, they make amends close to the end of their lives. There are also letters to a French woman who Jefferson was in love with while he was Ambassador to France. One of the most interesting concepts was Jefferson's idea of the separation of church and state. Jefferson believed that the religion should not intermingle in the affairs of the state. As Ambassador to France, Jefferson learned about the problems of authoritarian rule of a king over the common people. Jefferson was appalled at the poor representation and meager powers of the civilians of France compared to the powers of the King of France. Overall, this book is a good inside look at the ideals, beliefs, and feelings of one of the founding fathers of the United States.
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This is one of my favorite pieces in my modest collection. The autobiography is great, but I am particularly fond of all the letters and documents found in the last half of the book. This book is mandatory, in my opinion, for any person interesting in the colonial and/or constitutional era of the United States.
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