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Scandal at Bizarre: Rumor and Reputation in Jefferson's America
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Scandal at Bizarre: Rumor and Reputation in Jefferson's America

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In the early 1790s Richard Randolph was accused of fathering a child by his sister-in-law, Nancy, and murdering the baby shortly after its birth. Rumors about the incident, which occurred during a visit to the plantation of close family friends, spread like wildfire. Randolph found himself on trial for the crime largely because of the public outrage fueled by these rumors. ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published September 20th 2006 by University of Virginia Press (first published December 10th 2004)
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I asked my Southern mother in law for Virginia Gothic, and she delivered. I’d been feeling like the Gulf South gets all the Goth, while the so-called South Atlantic (has to ask my wife what to call Virginia in this context) is atmospheric as hell and where is its literature? Every time we visit we drive down rolling country roads past old tobacco drying sheds and crumbling plantation houses, under swathes of trailing kudzu, past decommissioned madhouses and orphanages...there’s some story there, ...more
Feb 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy historical fiction, and learning lurid details about our predecessors along with understanding the events in their lives makes it more enjoyable, I say. This story was particularly opprobrious. It certainly wasn't anything my history professors taught! One reason this book didn't earn more stars from me was the author's style. It was most suitable for one's research thesis, but such an interesting and well-researched tale could have been revealed in a much more lively and engaging (and l ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it
an interesting look at the lifestyle of our forebears.... they traveled and lived together a lot, intermarried a lot... I agree with another reader's comment that the author's "voice" left something to be desired. Although could she have had limited resources to call upon from which to make these characters "live"? on the other hand, I live in Albemarle County, VA, 4 miles from Monticello so it is always fascinating to learn about the people who lived here so long ago and traveled the same roads ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kind of a strange read. But very well-researched view of post revolution America. If you do not find this interesting, I'd give it a pass.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very insightful and informative look at the lives of the main actors in the late 18th century Virginia scandal (which did not take place at Bizarre, but involved its residents). Kierner examines the power of gossip in the early republic, print culture, and conceptions of gender. Also very readable.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading history
Rumors that ciculated in the early republic about Richard Randolph and his sister-in-law about their possible sexual relationship and a subsequent infanticide reveal values held by Virginia elites, their slaves, and northerners, all of whom participated in the gossip.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Most interesting. Microhistory. By focusing on an event of regular folks, Kierner tells a story of Jeffersonian America.
Cindy Chaplin
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Fascinating book about an early American scandal among the Virginia aristocracy.
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