Synopses & Reviews
Is there anything new to say about Thomas Jefferson and slavery? The answer is a resounding yes. Henry Wienceks eloquent, persuasive book—based on new information coming from archaeological work at Monticello and on hitherto overlooked or disregarded evidence in Jeffersons papers—opens up a huge, poorly understood dimension of Jeffersons world. We must, Wiencek suggests, follow the money.
So far historians have offered only easy irony or paradox to explain this extraordinary Founding Father who was an emancipationist in his youth and then recoiled from his own inspiring rhetoric and equivocated about slavery, who enjoyed his renown as a revolutionary leader yet kept some of his own children as slaves. But Wienceks Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the “silent profits” gained from his slaves—and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited.
Many people of Jeffersons time saw a catastrophe coming and tried to stop it, but not Jefferson. The pursuit of happiness had been badly distorted, and an oligarchy was getting very rich. Is this the quintessential American story?
A new interpretation of our charismatic third president, with much new information—the eyes have been on Sally Hemings, but the last taboo is money.
About the Author
After working in the radio/production field for fifteen years, BRIAN HOLSOPPLE has been a full-time voiceover artist for well over a decade. In addition to audiobooks, he has done work for The Discovery Channel, the FBI, the US Army, and others. He is the voice of Thomas Jefferson in the official Park Service program at the Mount Rushmore National Monument.HENRY WIENCEK, a nationally prominent historian and writer, is the author of several books, including The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and An Imperfect God. He lives with his wife in Charlottesville, Virginia.