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Thomas Jefferson: Architect: The Interactive Portfolio Hardcover – 16 Sep 2008
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Though Thomas Jefferson is thought of first and foremost as one of Americas founding fathers, his contributions in the realm of architecture, design, and innovation were no less revolutionary. The third president created an American ideal in architecture that can be seen in numerous structures that define the landscape of his resident state of Virginia, and comprise what has come to be regarded as classic American colonial design. Combining beautiful images, informative, accessible text, and removable memorabilia, this book celebrates the design of Jeffersons four most notable structures: the University of Virginia, his Monticello home, the Poplar Forest retreat, and the Virginia State Capitol. Monticello is the only home in the United States designated as a World Heritage Site. This Charlottesville, Virginia residence is featured on the reverse side of the nickel, and brings more than 450,000 visitors to its halls each year. However, guests are only allowed viewing on the ground floor and in the cellar; Thomas Jefferson: Architect will be one of the few places to reveal the second and third floors.Thomas Jefferson has never ceased to intrigue both the scholar and the casual history reader. New works about his life, his politics, and his writings continue to be published each year. As historical narratives dominate the nonfiction landscape, Jefferson remains a central figure in American history, and this unique volume adds a new facet to this fascinating man.
About the Author
Chuck Wills is the author of numerous books on American history, including volumes in the American Albums series about the presidents, the West, and the Civil War. Most recently, he authored Destination America, a history of immigration to the United States published in 2005 as a companion volume to the PBS series of the same name, and The Illustrated History of Weaponry. He lives in New York.
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First let's consider the printing and binding quality. I recently got into these history books with included reproduction artifacts and they are a lot of fun. Most have magazine quality printing though that can be hard to read when the writing is reduced down. Not this book though, the color reproductions are printed at a higher dpi than others, on paper that is a nice flat texture. The design of the document pockets is more elegant than others, and the quality of the printing and the level of the text is clearly directed at an adult level rather than at the pre-teen school market of many other books in this niche. The book comes in a box and the cover of the interior book has a lovely elegant design.
The content is great, there is a lot I didn't know about the wide variety of architectural projects Jefferson took on, and the writing is engaging and flows well. There is a lot of interesting context, such as a review of the work and impact of Renaissance architectural genius Palladio, and we see clearly how Jefferson intentionally sought to make design references to the ancient Roman Republic's influence on the new American Republic.