The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed
An American Family

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Synopsis

Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize: “[A] commanding and important book.”—Jill Lepore, The New Yorker


This epic work—named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times—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.
 

About Annette Gordon-Reed

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Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which won both the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
 
Published September 8, 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company. 816 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Hemingses of Monticello

Kirkus Reviews

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Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, 1997, etc.) grudgingly comes to a sympathetic view of Jefferson, who inherited the mixed-race Hemings family when he married Martha Wayles Skelton in 1772.

Jul 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

The New York Times

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Gordon-Reed notes that while other Hemings offspring were named after relatives, Sally Hemings’s sons bore names significant for Jefferson — Thomas Eston Hemings (after his cousin) and James Madison and William Beverley Hemings (after important ­Virginians).

Oct 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

The New York Times

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In 1997, Annette Gordon-Reed, who teaches at New York Law School and in the history department of Rutgers University, published “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy.” Reviewing the evidence, she concluded it was likely that Jefferson had fathered Hemings’s children.

Oct 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

The New York Times

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Annette Gordon-Reed traces the experiences of this slave family, and their relationship to the Jeffersons, over three generations.

Oct 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Robert is buffeted about by that insistent drumbeat in his chest — love conquers all love conquers all love.

Dec 30 2013 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Gordon-Reed makes the case that Jefferson was a man, not a saint, and Hemings was a woman, not a ‘slave girl.’" Cynthia Crossen Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars "Liberating the woman known to Jefferson’s smirking enemies as ‘dusky Sally’ from the lumber room of scandal and legend, Gordon-Reed le...

Sep 14 2008 | Read Full Review of The Hemingses of Monticello: ...

Project MUSE

but as the title correctly insists, Gordon-Reed's book is about the slave family who lived their lives constrained by nested boxes of ownership, race, sex, exploitation, law, love, and loyalty.

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BBC History Magazine

That liaison, forged in Paris and nurtured into an unspoken family at Monticello itself – in the heart of enslaved Virginia – has come to influence the current appreciation of Jefferson.

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