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.
I just finished listening to the audiobook - interesting details with a lot of information about slavery I had never read or heard. An amazing amount of research is evident. I also liked all of the geneological information regarding the Jefferson/Wales/Hemings family as well as the information about Jefferson himself. If you like books about American history - this is one of the best researched ones out there...
Entirely too much detail
This book is painfully tedious. It emphasizes the same points over and over again. A few interesting details are scattered here and there, but it's not worth the time or money.
A great study of history and human nature
I was a bit skeptical of this book going into it..but had read Ms. Gordon-Reed's first book about Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson and really respected her depth of research and willingness to search for the truth.
I really thought this book was a great mixture of research and thoughtfulness. While she does draw her own conclusions (and you have to be careful to remember that one can never truly know what goes on in the minds of individuals 200 or so years ago), she does put relationships and timeframes into context which I found extremely helpful in piecing together the lives of those people enslaved so many years ago.
I would highly recommend this book which I throughly enjoyed. I'm looking forward to the next one following the Hemmings' decendents into the present.