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Thomas Jefferson : Writings : Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters (Library of America) Hardcover – August 15, 1984

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Writings" gives the reader a chance to assess the power of the man's pen and, by this standard, his character and mind. -- The New York Times

From the Publisher

The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project in the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 17)
  • Hardcover: 1600 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (August 15, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 094045016X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450165
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a student in England, doing work on military academies, I came across the notes, papers, writings, etc of Thomas Jefferson in the bibliography of "West Point", by Norman Thomas Remick. I'm absolutely thrilled that Merrill D. Peterson has put it all together in one 1600 page book. It makes this part of my project almost like one stop shopping. The book is marvelous as a research reference, while at the same time being very interesting reading. By the way, as I see that the book "West Point" is not among the Amazon books on Thomas Jefferson, I hereby highly recommend it to you. It was marvelously interesting, as well.
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Format: Hardcover
What a difference of few decades make. When I was a youngster the founders were all revered and taught in school. Nowadays, they are almost ignored and condemned for not conforming to our modern view of morality. Of course, the present view is both arrogant and ignorant because we assume that future generations will believe as we do and lacks the humility to realize that the human condition is fraught with weakness and sin as well as triumph and wisdom.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the most remarkable men this country or any country has ever produced. All you need do is sample these writings and you will begin to understand the powers of his mind, the charisma he manifested, the range of his interests, and the paradoxical foibles as well. The writings included here are his autobiography, his Notes on Virginia, all kinds of essays, letters, speeches, and selected other papers.

He writes of philosophy, English prosody, natural history, political observations, the history of the Founding, theological beliefs, and many other topics. Both of his inaugural addresses are included as well has his notices to Congress (what we now call State of the Union Addresses used to be handled in a letter). There are also letters to Indian tribes that are quite interesting.

The idea that the Indian tribes would want to remain as they were seemed a mistaken to notion to Jefferson and his contemporaries. They needed to understand that realities of their world had changed forever and they had great opportunities for improving their lives (as he saw it). Their rejection of overtures to assimilate seemed evidence of an imprisoned mind rather than what we would call a "lifestyle choice".

This is another of the great volumes from the Library of America. It includes a chronology of Jefferson's life, great notes on the texts included, and an index.

Something you really should have on your shelf of American History and our Founding.
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Format: Hardcover
Hoping this might be of use since Amazon hasn't listed the contents. It's a lengthy TOC, so maybe a quick glance will be all you need to realize this is essential.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The persons who reviewed this wonderful book have done a fine job. My review intends to point out some aspects of the Writings unmentioned by the other reviewers.

First, Jefferson was a GREAT stylist. He's a delight to read.

Second, in his little Autobiography he shows the Declaration of Independence as he originally wrote it, shows the additions, the major deletions, and the finished product. I was amazed at how he was furious with England for enslaving Africans. The king, says Jefferson's original, "has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere...." And even more in that vein. Unfortunately, Congress deleted all that.

Third, his detailed "Notes on the State of Virginia" (good reading) display something of the broad range of Jefferson's interests, and the depth of his knowledge. They also give strong hints as to why he sent out Lewis and Clark -- and had them well prepared -- as well as Zebulon Pike and, on the Red River, Freeman. I recommend that immediately after reading the Notes, turn to J's 1803 letter of instruction to Merriwether Lewis. It's just an amazing piece of work: less than seven pages of the book -- and Jefferson planned the whole Lewis and Clark expedition BEFORE he had acquired the Louisiana territory.

Fourth, I got a charge out of the variety of the matters he dealt with when he was President.
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