Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves
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Pub. Ed. $30.00
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It would appear that the subject of Thomas Jefferson and slavery has been thoroughly exhausted—but in Master of the Mountain, Henry Wiencek delivers a provocative look at Jefferson’s relationship with the institution. Based on new archaeological work at Monticello and previously overlooked evidence in Jefferson’s papers, it opens up a little understood dimension of Jefferson’s world.
Historians have traditionally examined the conflicted feelings of the young emancipationist who backed off from his own inspiring rhetoric and developed an ambiguous stance toward slavery. But Wiencek argues that Jefferson was a hardheaded businessman whose success relied on the “silent profits” gained from his slaves. In this skewed moral universe, we see Jefferson taking out a slave-equity line of credit to finance the building of Monticello; creating smoke screens when visitors are dismayed by his endorsement of an institution he’d vowed to overturn; and participating in a brutal system in which slaves are whipped, families divided, and human beings cast as money in the plantation’s ledgers.
Master of the Mountain takes a refreshingly unvarnished look at one of America’s most iconic and idealized figures.
Hardcover Book : 352 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux ( October 16, 2012 )
Item #: 13-650305
Product Dimensions: 6.0 x 9.0 inches
Product Weight: 21.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
The Jon Meacham book is a solid piece of work. It does't go over board in high praise nor sinks so low with meaningless criticism. Meacham presents information that any student of Jefferson, or a person wanting to get to know Jefferson, will find interesting. A solid book that should be on the shelf of any student of American History.
Reviewer: Richard B