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Book Reviews > Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, Annette Gordon-Reed

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message 1: by Mike (last edited Jan 08, 2009 09:18AM) (new)

Mike | 27 comments Mod
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy(GoodReads Description) Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of law at New York Law School, doesn't take a position for or against the proposition that Thomas Jefferson may have had a liaison of nearly 40 years with a slave named Sally Hemings, and that Hemings may have borne him several children. Instead, in this scrupulously researched book, Gordon-Reed examines the evidence both for and against Jefferson's liasion with Hemings. Among the strongest evidence in this provocative book is the fact that though Jefferson's time in Virginia was limited when he was in public life, Hemings's six children--born over 15 years--were delivered with months after each of Jefferson's stays at Monticello.

message 2: by Jenny (new)

Jenny So obviously now with her new book, "The Hemingses of Monticello,"Gordon-Reed HAS taken the position that TJ & SH were intimatley involved. Was this because of further research after the first book was published? Is there any reason for someone who has read the new book to go back and read the first one on the subject - i.e., is all or most of the material from the first book covered in the second?

message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike | 27 comments Mod
This book was written before the DNA evidence was presented. At the time, there was low acceptance of the Hemings relationship with TJ. To her credit, AGR was very objective and refused to speculate beyond the realm of knowable facts. It was a well-written and researched book though (for the time), and presents a less agenda-driven history than the new book. Personally, I think it's still worth reading, though in an ideal world it should be read prior to the new book.

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