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The Jefferson-Hemings Myth : An American Travesty [Paperback]

Eyler Robert Coates Sr.
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 10, 2001 0934211663 978-0934211666 1st
This book carefully examines the facts and finds that, contrary to the way the matter has been portrayed in the news media, there is no substantial evidence at all to support the charge that Thomas Jefferson had a relationship with Sally Hemings. In fact, the best evidence indicates it never happened. The book details how evidence that would exonerate Jefferson was ignored, how the news media were manipulated, how dissent was suppressed, how one early document was altered to reverse its meaning, and how the scientific evidence was given a misleading headline in order to make it appear that Jefferson was guilty. Dr. James McClellan of London University described it as "An incredible new book that really destroys the case that Jefferson had a relationship with Sally Hemings."

Editorial Reviews


I found particularly poignant the final chapter titled Conclusions and Consequences by Bahman Batmanghelidj. Bravo! it is very well stated. -- Caspar W. Weinberger, Jr

The claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings has been shown to be baseless. -- Insight Magazine, Dr. James P. Lucier

“An incredible new book that really destroys the case that Jefferson had a relationship with Sally Hemings.” -- —Dr. James McClellan, London University

From the Publisher

Read This Book To Find Out: How the myth that accuses Thomas Jefferson of fathering the children of Sally Hemings began with allegations made by a scurrilous scandalmonger as part of an unsuccessful blackmail scheme to force President Jefferson to appoint him to a government job.

How the results of a 1998 DNA study were overstated in such a way as to mislead the public into believing that scientific tests had proved Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings’ last child.

How information about other Jefferson males living in the vicinity of Monticello who could have been the father of Sally Hemings’ last child was kept from the news media and even omitted from some scholarly books.

How the news media were provided with the fallacious title of a scientific study, and how some were misled into denigrating Thomas Jefferson as a liar, a hypocrite, and a fraud based on that false and misleading information.

How the descendants of Tom Woodson continue to maintain he was the son of Thomas Jefferson even though the DNA tests conclusively disproved this long-repeated family story.

Why exhuming the body of Thomas Jefferson and subjecting it to DNA testing cannot prove whether or not someone living today is or is not a descendant of his. How a research committee ignored all the contrary evidence and suppressed a dissenting minority report in order to arrive at the conclusion that Thomas Jefferson was probably the father of all Sally Hemings' children.

Why a deceptive statistical study indicating a high probability of Jefferson's guilt is based on inadequate evidence and is invalid.

Why, from a legal viewpoint, the case against Thomas Jefferson is deficient in any substantial evidence and completely without merit.

How a key letter written by Jefferson's granddaughter was altered by one author to reverse its clear meaning, and then reprinted and used as authority by other advocates of the Jefferson-Hemings myth.

Why a group of citizens felt it necessary to form the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society in order to expose the false information being disseminated to destroy the reputation of the Founding Father who, as George Will said, "gave us our creed" and "defined the American mind."

How these attacks on Jefferson are also used by some to undermine the principles he stood for and on which the American republic was founded.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jefferson Editions; 1st edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0934211663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0934211666
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,857,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Tom ******* Sally, does that mean.......... December 30, 2007
Format:Paperback's OK for Bill to ***** Monica??

I knew there were flaws in the Tom and Sally story, but I never realized how bad it was. When the Thomas Jefferson Memorial foundation issued a report in 1998 that stated as "fact" that Thomas Jefferson had an ongoing sexual relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, and fathered all six of her children, most people accepted it as gospel. That report is a lie; the only things the DNA testing proved are:

[1] The Woodson line, descended from a child Sally got pregnant with in Paris, are NOT related to anybody named Jefferson.

[2] ONE descendent of the Hemings line carries a Jefferson Y-chromosome. Easton Hemings was conceived when Jefferson was 64; possible, BUT there were seven other men named Jefferson easily available, all younger, all with much less to lose.

The TJMF accepted as fact everything that indicated Tom MIGHT have had sex with Sally, and ignored other possibilities. There is no PROOF that Tom is innocent, but there is also NONE that he is guilty. Sally had kids with one, or more, white men. One was named Jefferson, but there is no proof, scientific or documentary, that the Jefferson was named Thomas.

Thomas Callender's drunken fable, spun in 1802 because Jefferson wouldn't make him Postmaster of Richmond, goes on, and will, alas, be eternal. Tom Woodson was NOT Jefferson's child; that is proven. The rest is speculation....speculation isn't history, and it dern sure isn't evidence.

The authors of this great book suggest three possible motives for the TJMF report, and the timing thereof...all are worth thinking about, and none is a legitimate reason to state historical conjecture as established fact:

[a] To provide a lead-off for Black History Month.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes Tampered Evidence by Anti-Jefferson Scholar November 26, 2001
This is a truly remarkable book. Roughly half of the reviewers have given it the highest possible rating, and the other half the lowest rating. With controversy like this, I had to buy the book. I found it very persuasive. But I'm no expert, and I would urge others who are intersted in the issue to buy and read the book and form your own conclusions. There is one point about which I feel very strongly, and which I think any intelligent person can judge without having to be an expert on Thomas Jefferson. To suggest (as one reviewer does) that the changes made to the transcript of Ellen Randolph's letter that appears in Annette Gordon Reed's "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings" are "trivial" and simply "misprints" is disingenuous at best. Counting both the number of words that she dropped from the most important sentence and those that she rearranged to not just change but reverse the clear meaning of the original document, there are more than a dozen "errors" in this one sentence. (...). Anyone who believes this was a "misprint" or "typo" would presumable also accept the story that the anthrax-laced letter sent to Tom Brokaw was intended to read: "Dear Tom: Love your show. Keep up the great work!" Evidence tampering is a more serious offense than plagiarism, as it distracts the reader from the search for the truth. Yet the anti-Jefferson establishment seems determined to cover up this clear act of wrongdoing. For that disclosure alone, even if this book provided no other insights on the issue (which it does), we should all be indebted to its contributors.
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38 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Much-Needed Reality Check December 23, 2001
By A Customer
The PC, anti-Jefferson crowd jumped to conclusions upon the completion of the DNA study in 1998 and again with the shameful press conference at Monticello in 2000, obviously attempting to further an agenda rather than to search for the truth. This book exposes them.
You will learn much about the process, the quality of the scholarship, and the special interests that lead to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation's pronouncement that Jefferson was likely Eston Heming's father. They apparently found enough "evidence" to support the conclusion they hoped to reach a priori, that Jefferson fathered Hemings's children, while ignoring more persuasive exculpatory evidence.
As for Reed's motives,... view the Coolidge letter for yourself. You decide whether Reed's error was innocuous.
It is this reader's opinion that the "investigation" that gave rise to the original report will accompany fantasy Vietnam war veterans among the discredited pretenders whose works merit pity. This work provides a palliative to the shoddy "scholarship" that resulted in the original report.
Though the quality of the essays is uneven, to anyone interested in the truth of this matter I commend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really? May 15, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The most impressive aspect of this book is its wonderfully clear and concise illustration of the lengths to which some will go in order to promote their version of historical events. Those charged with the maintenance of Thomas Jefferson's home, the understanding of his meaning in our national psyche, together with those previously thought to be eminent Jefferson scholars, have obviated their objectivity and reputations in an effort to calumniate the man who they are charged to clarify and explain, and to whom they owe their livelihood. It is one thing to discuss past events for which there is no possibility of obtaining absolute answers, but it is quite another to stack conjecture upon possibility and draw hard and fast conclusions and promote them as fact in a manner that attempts to alter history.

This book shows the initial conclusion drawn by the Hemings Sympathizers and the hackneyed and torturous machinations and flawed logic needed to justify that conclusion. Mr. Jefferson may have impregnated his slave...we cannot, with any absolute certainty, prove or disprove that. However, the Sympathizers would have you believe a set of subjectively chosen circumstances(while omitting, ignoring or minimizing other circumstances), absolutely proves their point. But the plot thickens when it becomes clear that this isn't a case wherein some information was accidently overlooked or just didn't make it in to the final report the Sympathizers rely on...rather, a lot of information was altered or purposely withheld because it didn't further the Sympathizer's claim, and thus paints a very different picture than that available with the full spectrum of information available.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars First Book in a series of Jefferson defenders - Read it and judge for...
This book was one of the first to be published in response to the misleading Nature article and subsequent media (mis) pronouncements that the DNA was indisputable that Jefferson... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Christian F. Sahlman
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
In the late 60s through the 80s, it was very common for historians, filmmakers, and authors to make the founding fathers look like demigods. Read more
Published on September 7, 2011 by Emily K. Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Own It! Read It! - It's a Very Good Book!
To all you negative reviewers! I own the book, I read the book and I own about 450 other books dealing with this time in our history. Read more
Published on June 4, 2006 by Cato
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on topic
I am so glad that this book was written. Long before the DNA evidence became popular myth on this topic, one of the science journals that the biotech I worked for (can't remember... Read more
Published on January 23, 2006 by derek
1.0 out of 5 stars Dumas Malone Redux
Sad to see books like this get published as they re-hash and recycle tired old arguments about Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings. Read more
Published on May 21, 2002 by Kirt v.
1.0 out of 5 stars The Real Travesty is this book!
Pseudohistory at its worst. Since the Heritage Society set out to rescue Jefferson's reception, that alone should tell you the book is far from a professional, historical view.
Published on May 21, 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Opening up a Can of Worms
Let's not open up a can of worms by focusing on the virtue of the various "renderings" of the Ellen Coolidge statement. Read more
Published on December 16, 2001 by Marty
1.0 out of 5 stars Appreciating Efforts
I can appreciate the efforts of the TJHS to defend this great man, as they do so based on what they truly believe about him. Read more
Published on November 11, 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars Appreciating Efforts
I can appreciate the efforts of the TJHS to defend this great man, as they do so based on what they truly believe about him. Read more
Published on November 11, 2001 by Ms. Ross
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