Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
"… one of the richest portrayals of Jefferson to date and a welcome contribution to Jeffersonian scholarship … highly recommended …"
"[I]n Helo's careful retracting of Jefferson's reading, his political positions, and his correspondence, a substantially revised - and decidedly intriguing - portrait of Jefferson as a practical politician and a pragmatic moralist emerges … commendably careful and thorough …"
John Michael, Journal of American History
"Helo explores the rich labyrinth of Jefferson's ethical thought, albeit with the awareness that Jefferson was a politician, not a philosopher … [T]he book also surveys much of the entire firmament of Jefferson's mind, from religion and cosmology to epistemology and metaphysics. Along the way Helo sheds fresh light on Jefferson's various political actions, choices, and principles. Enlivened with a sprightly, occasionally feisty, tone, this work combines impressive learning and erudition with analytic rigor and is consistently guided by its central methodological imperative, to see Jefferson's thought as he saw it, in its broadest contours and on its own terms. It is an exhilarating intellectual ride, one that no student of Thomas Jefferson should miss."
Darren Staloff, American Historical Review
"[A] thorough and complex contribution to Jeffersonian scholarship … The book's five chapters walk the reader through a thicket of Jeffersonian texts, philosophical theories, and historical facts … [Helo] also challenges the commonly held Jeffersonian commitments to agrarianism, constitutions, and small-government … certain sections should certainly be parsed out and explored in other disciplines and classrooms, especially American studies, history, political science, and philosophy. Anthropologists of ethics and cultural critics bent on the Foucauldian notion of self-governance should especially consider the value of this text in terms of its analysis of American leadership as ethical subjects in practice, in private, and in policy production."
Casper G. Bendixsen, American Studies