Review: John J. Hohn of Calls James Thompson's Recent Book on Jefferson Clear and Engaging. March 10 2014

Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785, a non-fiction narrative detailing Thomas Jefferson's transformation from a political loner into a political leader, delivers a gripping journey with over 160 museum-quality reproductions of period maps.

"Author Thompson does not allow his narrative to bog down in footnotes or tedious philosophical speculation. He reports Jefferson’s days in Paris almost as if he was peering into his subject’s diary," says columnist John J. Hohn for

Readers accompany Pierre Cabanis and his aspiring protégé to public gardens, the theatre, salons, the grain exchange, and along the bustling, stinking thoroughfares of the French capital. They accompany Jefferson as he settles into the most elegant—and debauched—society in the world.

"...Thompson writes beautifully. Sentence after sentence, he is powerful. He has a wonderful command of the language. He is a great story teller with a novelist’s eye for the essential details. He sets the scene. The historical characters come alive," writes John.

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