Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy


Product Details

$21.95  $20.41
University of Virginia Press
Publish Date
5.83 X 9.57 X 0.79 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which won both the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for Nonfiction.


This is the definitive work on the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings issue. Gordon-Reed has produced an extraordinarily fine piece of historical research on a subject loaded with minefields for even the most cautious of historians.

--Charles B. Dew, author of Bond of Iron: Master and Slave at Buffalo Forge

Short of digging up Jefferson and doing DNA testing on him and Hemings' descendants, Gordon-Reed's account gets us as close to the truth as the available evidence allows.

--Joseph J. Ellis, author of American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson

In this lucid and compelling book, Annette Gordon-Reed confronts the tale of a Jefferson- Hemings liaison neither to prove nor disprove it. Instead her goal is to weigh the evidence, to evaluate its possibility. In doing so, she provides a meticulous review of primary documents and looks at the way in which the best historians can fall prey to unreasoned predispositions.

--Patricia J. Williams, author of The Alchemy of Race and Rights