Henry Wiencek





Henry Wiencek


Born
in Dorchester, Massachusetts, The United States
January 01, 1952

Genre


Henry Wiencek is a prominent American historian and editor whose work has encompassed historically significant architecture, the Founding Fathers, various topics relating to slavery, and the Lego company. In 1999, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, a biographical history which chronicles the racially intertwined Hairston clan of the noted Cooleemee Plantation House, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.

Wiencek has come to be particularly associated with his work on Washington and slavery as a result of his most recent book, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, which earned him the Los Angeles Times Book Award for history. Partly as a result of this book, Wiencek
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Average rating: 4.02 · 1,664 ratings · 231 reviews · 18 distinct worksSimilar authors
An Imperfect God: George Wa...

3.99 avg rating — 719 ratings — published 2003 — 10 editions
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Master of the Mountain: Tho...

3.95 avg rating — 572 ratings — published 2012 — 5 editions
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The Hairstons: An American ...

4.21 avg rating — 256 ratings — published 1999 — 5 editions
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The World Of Lego Toys

4.24 avg rating — 25 ratings — published 1987 — 2 editions
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National Geographic Guide t...

4.26 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 1999
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Old Houses

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3.61 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 1995
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The Smithsonian Guide to Hi...

4.20 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 1989 — 3 editions
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The Moodys of Galveston and...

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4.14 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2010 — 3 editions
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The Smithsonian Guide to Hi...

4.11 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 1989 — 3 editions
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Storm Across Asia: Genghis ...

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3.50 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1980 — 2 editions
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“Genealogy becomes a mania, an obsessive struggle to penetrate the past and snatch meaning from an infinity of names. At some point the search becomes futile – there is nothing left to find, no meaning to be dredged out of old receipts, newspaper articles, letters, accounts of events that seemed so important fifty or seventy years ago. All that remains is the insane urge to keep looking, insane because the searcher has no idea what he seeks. What will it be? A photograph? A will? A fragment of a letter? The only way to find out is to look at everything, because it is often when the searcher has gone far beyond the border of futility that he finds the object he never knew he was looking for.”
Henry Wiencek, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White

“He had to backtrack immediately to account for the most famous and most acclaimed poet in America, Phillis Wheatley, who was, very unfortunately for Jefferson’s argument, unquestionably black. She had been brought to Boston as an enslaved African at the age of about six, learned English and Latin as a child, and began writing poetry as a teenager. Her published works earned accolades on both sides of the Atlantic. Among her admirers were Voltaire, who praised Wheatley’s “very good English verse,” George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and even the naval hero John Paul Jones, who addressed her as “the celebrated Phillis the African favorite of the Nine [Muses] and Apollo” when he sent her some of his own verses. Dr. Rush cited her as a proof of black ability, listing her accomplishments when he wrote in 1775, “We have many well attested anecdotes of as sublime and disinterested virtue among them as ever adorned a Roman or a Christian character.”14 Franklin went to see Wheatley when she was in London, a literary celebrity on book tour. The acclaim irked Jefferson: “The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism.”15”
Henry Wiencek, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

“The failure of emancipation to take root during the war is one of the great What ifs of the Revolution. Another is: What if blacks had not fought for the American cause? What if a slave had not saved Colonel William Washington’s life, with the result that his cavalry charge dissolved and the Battle of Cowpens had become a British victory? As the historian Thomas Fleming speculates, both North and South Carolina might well have gone over to the British. What if Glover’s regiment of Massachusetts sailors had not had the manpower to complete the evacuation of Washington’s army before the fog lifted in New York—and Washington himself, waiting for the last boat, had been captured? *”
Henry Wiencek, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America



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