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Synopsis: WINNER OF THE KAFKA PRIZE FOR BEST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN WOMAN
"One of the great American stories . . . . Gives new luster to the words 'historical novel' . . . Vastly enjoyable." -- The New York Times
"Exquisitely crafted . . . . A sensitive life study of a truly exceptional woman: complex, courageous, irresistibly attractive, . . . elegantly self-possessed." -- Cosmopolitan
One of the greatest love stories in Amercian history is also one of the least known -- and most controversial. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, had a mistress for thirty-eight years, whom he loved and lived with until he died -- the beautiful and elusive quadroon slave, Sally Hemings.
In this brilliant novel, spanning two continents, sixty years, and seven presidencies, Barbara Chase-Riboud re-creates a love story based on the documents and the evidence of the day, but gives free rein to the novelist's imagination. Incredibly written and beautifully evoked, Barbara Chase-Riboud explores the complex blend of love and hate, tenderness and cruelty, freedom and bondage, that made the lifelong liaison between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson one of the most poignant, tragic, and unforgettable chapters in the history of the races, and of the sexes, in America.
Review: When this stirring work by Philadelphia-born Paris-based sculptress and historical-fiction writer Barbara Chase-Riboud first appeared in 1979, it was dismissed by many mainstream historians as "hogwash." But with DNA evidence proving that Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, did indeed father at least one child by his black slave mistress, Sally Hemings, Chase-Riboud's book deserves a new read. With her painstaking eye for research, Chase-Riboud unfolds a complex 19th-century quilt of miscegenation, denial, hypocrisy, slavery and, yes, love in Virginia. She brings to life Heming's relationship with Martha, her half-sister and the President's wife on his Monticello estate; Jefferson's seduction of Hemings in Paris after Martha's death; and his lifelong concubinage of Hemings until his own death, when she and her offspring were freed. Chase-Riboud avoids the sentimental "tragic-mulatto trap" that other writers have fallen into when they deal with slave relations by making Hemings not only multidimensional and believable, but, given late-20th-century political scandals, chillingly contemporary. Along with the novel's other sub-themes, including black disenfranchisement and the fear of reenslavement, Riboud intimates that Jefferson-- despite his racist rantings in Notes on the State of Virginia, which Chase-Riboud uses as epigraphs--may have actually loved this black woman, and that the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was perhaps the clearest example of the American imperative of "seeking a more perfect union," a controversial portrayal that Chase-Riboud makes plausible with skillfully written prose. --Eugene Holley Jr.
Title: Sally Hemings
Publisher: The Viking Press
Publication Date: 1979
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Viking 1979/79, 1979. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Hardback Historical Original Book Club Near Fine/Good edgewear and opentear; 62575. Bookseller Inventory # 62575
Book Description The Viking Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2793434236
Book Description The Viking Press, 1979. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Combining fact with fiction and moving from Monticello to France and from Philadelphia to Washington, this tale portrays Thomas Jefferson's scandalous liaison with his mistress and slave, the beautiful Sally Hemings Binding is moderately loose. Some pages are falling out. Moderate shelf wear. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 123486911
Book Description The Viking Press, 1979. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Acceptable. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0670616052
Book Description Penguin Publishing Group. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0670616052I5N00
Book Description Book Condition: Acceptable. Book Condition: Acceptable. Bookseller Inventory # 97806706160535.0
Book Description The Viking Press, 1979. Hardback. Book Condition: Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Good+. 8.30 X 5.80 X 1.20 inches; 348 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 116663
Book Description The Viking Press, New York, 1979. Hardcover. [xii], 348p., endpapers slightly browned, otherwise a very good copy of the first edition in an priceclipped dj. Novel about Thomas Jefferson's slave mistress; African American author. Bookseller Inventory # 5515
Book Description PENGUIN. HARDCOVER W/JACKET. Book Condition: GOOD CONDITION. Bookseller Inventory # IM199695
Book Description Viking, N.Y., 1979. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Fourth Printing. 348 pp. Love story involving the nation's third president and Ms. Hemings. (oc 384/1). Bookseller Inventory # 009963