As portrayed in this colorful book, Thomas Jefferson is not
quite the monument that readers learn about in school. In a new
kind of nonfiction narrative, Jefferson's transformation from
frontiersman and political loner into cosmopolitan political leader
is taught by submerging the reader in the things that Jefferson did
and saw on his travels to Paris in 1785. Featuring 168
museum-quality reproductions of period maps, Parisian scenes, and
portraits of the lumieres who welcomed the untraveled American into
the salons of prerevolutionary Paris, readers accompany Pierre
Cabanis and his aspiring protege 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.
Because they are with Jefferson as Cabanis instructs him on the
French concept of Progress, they understand how Jefferson became
its agent and how his new vision of himself and his role in the
world prepared the Father of the Enlightenment in America for the
political contest he entered when he returned home.
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