If a modern American could choose which of the founding fathers would be his choice of a correspondent, the choice would probably fall on either Franklin or Jefferson. Mine would always have been Jefferson and this skillful and loving selection of 179 letters from the vast number, 18,000 and more, extant, reenforces my opinion. They provide an exciting self portrait, showing not only his literary and intellectual aspects, but revealing Jefferson through his political thinking, his philosophical and religious approach, his views on education, on science, on matters national and international, on racial attitudes, on personal relationships. Much of what he has to say is given greater significance by pertinent notes placing the letters in context, against both historical and biographical background. A quick glance down the list of his correspondents embraces most of the leading figures of his day, and the brief excerpts under each correspondent heading make one realize again how great was his gift for the apt phrase, the homely precept, the challenging homily. This is a book to own, to dip into again and again. Padover has long been a close student of Jefferson (his excellent one volume biography appeared in 1942).