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Shelly's Book Journal

The 3 Rs: Reading, Reviews & Recs.

Let's chat about books!


Currently reading

The Civil War, Vol. 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian
Shelby Foote
Progress: 380/976 pages

Another Jefferson Bio

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves - Henry Wiencek

This book talks about Jefferson and slavery. Like everything else about this Founding Father, duplicity was at the center of his views on slavery. Early in life he opposed it, but later he would see it as a means to finance his lifestyle. While many pushed him to be a part of the anti-slavery movement, he never made a step to do so. The author shares many documents from Jefferson's own records along with personal accounts from relatives and former slaves to support his assertions.

Seems like a well researched book on a subject that no one biographer really gives true justice to. Honestly though, if you read enough about TJ, you get a sense of it although not the details. Wiencek tears the lid off the entire Virginia slave scene to give readers a sense of what it could have been like for slaves - the things they faced. Jefferson was really no different than the others except he had many more complications with his own family and strangely, he let his enslaved offspring more or less run underfoot.

The author looks at many different components of slave life - he even walks the grounds with Monticello archaeologists to piece together details from the earth.

Lots of good information here. The book is relatively short compared to most Presidential tomes. It is a must read for any scholars of Jefferson.

Recommend for: History lovers.