THE FIRST BOOK EVER WRITTEN ABOUT THOMAS JEFFERSON’S THREE DAUGHTERS, comparing and contrasting their lives.
THE FULL STORY OF JEFFERSON AND SALLY HEMINGS’ BIRACIAL DAUGHTER, including the author’s detective work on what became of her and her descendants.
BASED ON EXTENSIVE ARCHIVAL AND DNA RESEARCH by a professor at Villanova who specializes in early American history. Kerrison has interviewed and had DNA testing done on Hemings family descendants, with their cooperation of course, as well as searched for and tested many other possible Harriet Hemings’ descendants.
INCLUDES NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED MATERIAL such as letters from the Jefferson girls and their friends and both letters and commentary from Jefferson and Hemings’ descendants.
MAPS AND 36 B&W ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT
“Beautifully written…To a nuanced study of Jefferson’s two white daughters, Martha and Maria, [Catherine Kerrison] innovatively adds a discussion of his only enslaved daughter, Harriet Hemings. The result is a stunning if unavoidably unbalanced book, combining detailed treatments of Martha’s and Maria’s experiences with imaginative attempts to reconstruct Harriet’s life.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A richly textured and satisfying book…a striking portrait of how women in Jefferson’s era lived, bravely and resourcefully, in an age that demanded fealty and absolute obedience to men.”—Newsday
“Intriguing…The most poignant literature gives a voice to the voiceless. And in Jefferson’s Daughters…Catherine Kerrison tells us the stories of three of Thomas Jefferson’s children, who, due to their gender or race, lived lives whose most intimate details are lost to time…. A highlight of Kerrison’s work is that while noting the gender constraints that hemmed in white women, she does not sugarcoat their privileged status, nor deny their racism…. A historical narrative that allows us to reflect on the thoughts, fears and motivations of three women coming of age in a turbulent time, Jefferson’s Daughters offers a fascinating glimpse of where we have been as a nation. It is a vivid reminder of both the ties that bind, and the artificial boundaries that painfully divide us.”—USA Today
“Kerrison’s book is a valuable addition to the history of Revolutionary-era America as well as a reminder of how many of its promises have yet to be fulfilled.”—The Boston Globe
“Absorbing and affecting…Like all great histories do, Jefferson’s Daughters brings its period vividly to life, a credit to Kerrison’s exhaustive research, her passion for her subject, and her elegant writing.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, his family and his illegitimate daughter, Harriet Hemings. But historian Catherine Kerrison eloquently manages to shed new light on the Founding Father and his relationships with three of his very different children…. Although Jefferson promoted individual liberty, he contradicted this endorsement by owning slaves. Kerrison writes about this contradiction with thoroughness and candor, piecing together massive amounts of research, including letters, journal entries, financial accounts and commentary from family descendants. In meticulous detail, her knowledgeable yet conversational style makes Jefferson’s Daughters a thought-provoking nonfiction narrative that reads like a novel.”—BookPage
“Drawing on letters and journals, Kerrison presents an intimate portrait of a powerful man and his daughters through their respective paths to womanhood at a time of change and tumult that nonetheless held to racial and sexual restrictions.”—Booklist
“Incisive and elegant, [Catherine] Kerrison’s book is at once a fabulous family story and a stellar work of historical scholarship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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