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The Hemingses of Monticello
Cover of The Hemingses of Monticello
The Hemingses of Monticello
An American Family
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This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.
This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of history at Rutgers University and the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Karen White's strong reading of the 2008 winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction takes the listener back to the world in which African-American slave (and half sister of Jefferson's wife) Sally Hemings had a 38-year relationship with Thomas Jefferson. Remarkable detail paints a vivid scenario of a time in which such affairs were common--but never publicly acknowledged. White's thoughtful narration takes the listener through the beginning of the Hemings family to an understanding of American and world politics and moral standards of the day as they impacted the lives and choices of the black and white members of the clan. The story is told with virtually no dialogue; White uses an accent only with sporadic French phrases. Surprising and thought provoking, this extensive history is instructive for all Americans. J.J.B. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 14, 2008
    This is a scholar's book: serious, thick, complex. It's also fascinating, wise and of the utmost importance. Gordon-Reed, a professor of both history and law who in her previous book helped solve some of the mysteries of the intimate relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, now brings to life the entire Hemings family and its tangled blood links with slave-holding Virginia whites over an entire century. Gordon-Reed never slips into cynicism about the author of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, she shows how his life was deeply affected by his slave kinspeople: his lover (who was the half-sister of his deceased wife) and their children. Everyone comes vividly to life, as do the places, like Paris and Philadelphia, in which Jefferson, his daughters and some of his black family lived. So, too, do the complexities and varieties of slaves' lives and the nature of the choices they had to make—when they had the luxury of making a choice. Gordon-Reed's genius for reading nearly silent records makes this an extraordinary work. 37 illus.

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    Tantor Media, Inc.
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The Hemingses of Monticello
The Hemingses of Monticello
An American Family
Annette Gordon-Reed
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