Editorial Reviews for this title:
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.
Praise for The Hemingses of Monticello:
“Annette Gordon-Reed has broken a path into territory that has hitherto eluded historians: what happens to intimate human relations, those between lover and loved, parent and child, brother and sister, when one among them is enslaved to another. The result is not simply a fascinating story in itself, but a new perspective on how the humanity of slaves and a slave owner could adjust and survive in circumstances designed to obliterate it.” —Edmund S. Morgan, author of American Slavery
“Thomas Jefferson often described his slaves at Monticello as ‘my family.’ Annette Gordon-Reed has taken that description seriously. Surely more seriously than Jefferson ever intended! The result, the story of the Hemings family, is the most comprehensive account of one slave family ever written. It is not a pretty story, but it is poignant beyond belief. And it demonstrates conclusively that we must put aside Gone with the Wind forever and begin to study Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!” —Joseph J. Ellis, author of American Sphinx
“This is not only a riveting history of a slave family on a grand scale, it is also a rarely seen portrait of the family in the Big House, with a remarkable account of the relationship of white and black families. This work catapults Gordon-Reed into the very first rank of historians of slavery.” —John Hope Franklin, author of From Slavery to Freedom
“From years of painstaking research, Annette Gordon-Reed has crafted a brave, compelling, and moving family saga about slavery and freedom. This work is a beautifully written, textured story about race, tragedy, and sometimes hope—America’s story. If this country has a modern Shakespeare looking for material, Gordon-Reed has provided it.” —David W. Blight, Yale University, author of A Slave No More
“Annette Gordon-Reed’s splendid achievement will have the last word on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, for one cannot imagine another historian matching her exhaustive research and interpretive balance.” —David Levering Lewis, author of W. E. B. Du Bois
“Annette Gordon-Reed is a prodigiously gifted historian and The Hemingses of Monticello is her masterpiece. Bringing the Hemings family out of the shadows and into vibrant life, Gordon-Reed restores them to their proper role at Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop home. Jefferson’s Virginia—and Jefferson himself—will never look the same.” —Peter Onuf, author of Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood
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