Naval War College Review


John E. Jackson


I cannot live without books.” So wrote Thomas Jefferson to John Adams in 1815. Jefferson, one of the most learned founders of the Republic, amassed the largest personal collection of books in the United States. After the British burned the Li- brary of Congress during the War of 1812, he sold 6,500 books from his collec- tion to Congress to reestablish its library. Nearly two centuries later, the Navy’s leadership bought ten times that number of books, over sixty-five thousand, when it established the Navy Professional Reading Program (NPRP) in 2006. In both cases, the intent was to make great books more readily available to improve the lives of America’s citizens.