Monday, November 5, 2012

"Thomas Jefferson Was Not a Monster": Gordon-Reed's Review of Master of the Mountain

Those interested in Henry Wiencek's new book on Jefferson and slavery, Master of the Mountain, which I mentioned here, will want to consider Annette Gordon-Reed's review, published by Slate.  The review's title, Thomas Jefferson Was Not a Monster, speaks volumes. Gordon-Reed concludes: "This book fails as a work of scholarship. This is surprising. I favorably reviewed Wiencek's book about George Washington, Imperfect God, and I admire The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. What happened with Master of the Mountain? ... The book's tone and presentation betray a journalistic obsession with “the scoop.” Getting the scoop can be the life’s blood of journalism. It does not work so well for writing history...."