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

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Make no mistake. This is a book about Thomas Jefferson, not a book about his slaves. But, of course, the two are inextricably tied together, and the perspective of the book does not negate ways in which this book necessarily illuminates slave life at Monticello.

“[A] brilliant examination of the dark side of the man who gave the world the most ringing declarations about human liberty.” ―Jonathan Yardley. “In this deeply provocative and crisply written journey into the dark heart of slavery at Monticello, Henry Wiencek brings into focus a side of Jefferson that Americans have largely failed―or not cared―to see. This book will change forever the way that we think about the author of the Declaration of Independence.” ―Fergus M. Bordewich. “Master of the Mountain is bound to cause a firestorm. It completely upends our view of Jefferson and his attitudes on freedom, slavery, and wealth. It's a tough-minded book by a master craftsman, completely convincing and a joy to read.” ―Richard Ben Cramer. “Master of the Mountain is wonderful! Eloquent and carefully researched, this invaluable book takes us behind the curtain of Jefferson's familiar public words and shows us Jefferson the Virginia planter, committed to slavery because he was utterly dependent on it for all his wealth, status, and power. Henry Wiencek's insights help to debunk the whole myth of the ‘humane masters.” ―Bruce Levine. “Well-rendered yet deeply unsettling . . . Wiencek scours the primary sources . . . for a thoughtful reexamination of what was really going on behind the harmonious façade of the great house on the mountain . . . Beautifully constructed reflections and careful sifting of Jefferson's thoughts and deeds.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review). The author, Henry Wiencek lives in Charlottesville. He is a well-know author and historian.

New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012, 336 pages with an Index, Bibliography, Notes, and photos. Hardback in dust jacket.