"The Portable Jefferson" consists of a vast collection of Jefferson's works. It provides us with valuable insights into his mind and his world.
The longest entry is "Notes on the State of Virginia". It provides a multifaceted assessment of the Virginia known by Jefferson. Politics, the economy, topography, populations, flora and fauna are all included in this report. I read with particular interest the reports on areas of French settlement in what is now Illinois, areas in which my ancestors were living but to which Jefferson had never traveled and about which he had to have learned from the reports of others. Many insights into the Virginia of his day are very interesting.
Jefferson's July, 1774 tome on "A Summary View Of The Rights of British America" give a preview of America's grievances on the eve of the Revolution.
The next segment consists of Jefferson's public papers and addresses. Some are well known, such as the Declaration of Independence, while others are obscure, but often no less interesting.
The last segment of the book consists of many private letters written to a host of correspondents. Some of these are rather mundane matters of personal interest, while others are occasions for expositions of political views and comments on the news of the day. I found particularly interesting his comments on developments in France during its Revolution.
I have long had an interest in Jefferson. This book enables the reader to see him in new and deeper lights. His thought, the breath of his interests and his genius shine on the pages of his book. This is a book to read and then keep handy for reference.
on June 1, 2013
Thomas Jefferson is the most brilliant man in the history of the world, in my humble opinion. I have my degree in Constitutional history and can testify that Jefferson understood the principles of Liberty better than any of the Founders, and better than anyone else whose work I've ever come across. This particular book is one that everyone should own. It's set up well, is easy to maneuver, and has Jefferson's greatest gems all in one package.