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Mr. Jefferson's Women

3.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  95 Ratings  ·  20 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Vintage (first published June 2nd 2005)
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Nov 02, 2010 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2008 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 31, 2011 Peg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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."
Jun 11, 2007 Mrelia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A refreshingly unsentimental and unjudgemental examination of Thomas Jefferson's relationships with the women in his life.
Quite interesting.

Dec 18, 2007 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
intereseting insight into one of America's founding fathers; from the viewpoint of his relationships with women
Mike Shoop
Good account of Thomas Jefferson's relationships with the various women in his life. Learned more about his first real crush, Rebecca Burwell, as well as his aggressive pursuit of Elizabeth Moore Walker, his best friend's wife. Kukla gives his opinions concerning Jefferson's attraction to the slave Sally Hemings and to the English artist Maria Cosway, as well as his sometimes fractious friendship with Abigail Adams. These relationships show Jefferson's attitudes toward women, what he considered ...more
Dianne Oliver
Dec 03, 2014 Dianne Oliver rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
David Kopec
Aug 09, 2013 David Kopec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2015 Maureen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A lot more detail on Jefferson's friends and their relationships than I needed, other to know that Virginia sounded like an 'incestuous' place with everyone related to everyone else.

This could have been a very short book.
Jun 28, 2008 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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
Mar 31, 2013 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 07, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 08, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 21, 2012 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very scholarly and also informative. Amazing that Jefferson's "aversion to and fear of women shaped American laws and traditions today."
Jul 11, 2013 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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