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Mr. Jefferson's Women
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Mr. Jefferson's Women

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  84 ratings  ·  18 reviews
From the acclaimed author of A Wilderness So Immense comes a pioneering study of Thomas Jefferson's relationships with women, both personal and political.

The author of the Declaration of Independence, who wrote the words “all men are created equal,” was surprisingly uncomfortable with woman. In eight chapters, Kukla examines the evidence for the founding father's youthful...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Vintage (first published June 2nd 2005)
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Back in 1999, soon after the Hemings/Jefferson DNA test results were announced, I was at a history conference where people like Peter Onuf and Annette Gordon-Reed were discussing the implications of the test results. Many comments were made about the nature of their relationship -- from "loving" to "rape." I commented to the person next to me that we'd never figure that out until we knew more about Jefferson's relationships with other women.
At the time I was busy writing about the Louisiana Pur...more
Dianne Oliver
How disconcerting to learn of the vices of men.(I will leave women out, as fitting to his sentiments regarding them.) I am reading Dumas Malone's far more sympathetic biography of T. Jefferson and found this book to be more direct, but sadly so. The seeming contradictions in this intelligent and complex historical figure make me wonder, if I may, "What would Jefferson do?" if he were plunked down in 2014. How would he feel about his behavior and beliefs? Was he merely a product of his culture? D...more
Adult nonfiction; History/biography. An interesting account of what our third president really thought about 'the fairer sex' (or as he termed it, 'the weaker sex'). If we take his relationships with and correspondence for/about women into account, it seems that his choice of gendered language when he wrote "all men are created equal" was entirely purposeful.
This look at Thomas Jefferson offers fresh insights into his relationships with women, including Sally Hemings.
I much preferred the book "The Hemmings of Monticello."
A refreshingly unsentimental and unjudgemental examination of Thomas Jefferson's relationships with the women in his life.
Quite interesting.

intereseting insight into one of America's founding fathers; from the viewpoint of his relationships with women
David Kopec
A Worthy Topic; Poorly Written

This is a good book about an interesting and worthy topic. In fact, as Kukla states himself - it is surprising there is no other book on this topic. With that said, this is not a well written book. Kukla is a capable story teller, but his style is uneven and his 21st century values come through too strongly in the text with regards to his 18th century subject.

Early chapters are lost in the details. The reader really does not need to know whom Jefferson's friend's br...more
Thomas Jefferson was apparently a paradox of a man. Drawn to strong women but also felt they belonged on the other side of the domestic divide, he managed to love and obsess over only a handful in his lifetime.

It was interesting, a bit dry, and not at all sexy. Try as I might, I couldn't banish the vision of Nick Nolte playing Jefferson from my mind, so it made the work that much more difficult to truly enjoy. The author was knowledgable in the subject, impressively so. However, much of what the...more
I guess this qualifies as revisionist history. According to this author, when Thomas Jefferson wrote "... all men are created equal," he really did mean MEN. His relationships with women were complicated and not very satisfying from our (21st century) perspective. One point on his side: He engaged in thoughtful, respectful debates with Abigail Adams.
Jim  Hassett
This book read like someone's PhD thesis. There were about 190 pages of text and 90 pages of appendices and index. While there were several interesting points discussed, there was not enough real substance to justify the 190 pages. Granted the author obviously performed exhaustive research for this book, but the result was tedious reading at many times.
There was a lot of interesting information in this book, and it definitely gives the reader a better idea of what Jefferson was like in his personal life. Although I enjoyed the topic, the delivery was a bit dull. I felt like I was reading a text book.
I confess, I only read the part related to Rebecca Burwell. Rebecca is my husband's 7th Great Grandmother. It goes into great detail which I loved. Burwell declined Jefferson's proposal of marriage. I do want to read the rest of the book.
Interesting history on the loves in Jefferson's life. Not necessarily comprehensive in addressing what is known about Sally Hemings. Annette Gordon-Reed is more thorough, of course, but she's dedicating whole books to the one lady.

Jefferson was a complex man. This book is a good read (though not the easiest read at times) particularly if you are reading a variety of books about him.
Kristen Sera
Was a pretty dry read. Too much time focused on ancestry of families and not enough time spent on actual relationships with the women.
Judith Mills
Very scholarly and also informative. Amazing that Jefferson's "aversion to and fear of women shaped American laws and traditions today."
Not nearly enough space devoted to Sally Hemings.
Too full of the author's opinions.
I thought i would be into it.
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