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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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The Three Facets of Our Collection of Memoirs October 23 2013

History is generally understood as the study of the past events in human development. If we specify the history of philosophy or art, we are narrowing the scope to events that define these two fields.

The flaw in many written works on history is their tendency to overemphasize the events that directly affected societies, such as wars, alliances, plagues, and revolutions. In doing so, they overlook two important fields which influence and give context to the course of human events: art and philosophy. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas influenced the French Revolution and were twisted by Maximilien Robespierre and Saint-Just to justify their Reign of Terror. At the same time, his philosophical ideas reflected a mindset among philosophers of the Enlightenment.

In a similar vein, Jacques-Louis David was a Jacobin who used paintings like "The Death of Marat" to defend his views. Its subsequent popularity among the leaders of the Reign of Terror is indicative of a frame of mind. 

Commonwealth Book Publishers of Virginia publishes books that meld these three distinct, yet related, dimensions into a vivid portrayal of human events. We believe this approach provides a truly comprehensive understanding of the events under discussion.Topics covered by our book publishing service range from tales of American history to memoirs of Chinese life.