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The President's Daughter: A Novel (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2009


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The President's Daughter: A Novel (Rediscovered Classics) + Sally Hemings: A Novel (Rediscovered Classics) + Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy
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Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556529449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556529443
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chase-Riboud's first novel, Sally Hemings, reignited an old, unresolved controversy: Did Thomas Jefferson carry on a decades-long affair and produce seven illegitimate children with his mulatto slave? The author's engaging new novel continues the Hemings saga by handing the reins of narration primarily to Harriet Hemings, Sally's daughter by the President. The story opens in 1822, on the eve of Harriet's 21st birthday, the day on which, her father has promised, she may leave Monticello and journey north to freedom. To Harriet, the child of a distant father and a remote mother, the choice between living as a slave and leading a life in which her white skin, red hair and green eyes will allow her to pass as white is no choice at all. No matter where she runs, however-New York, London, Paris, Florence-Harriet will end up feeling as if her life is nothing but a duplicitous lie. Chase-Riboud incorporates elements of both pulp (dark secrets, presidential intrigues, sex scenes) and higher-brow fiction (fearless discussions of complex issues such as slavery, war, skin color and gender equality), and she seamlessly joins the two. Like its prequel, this is lushly entertaining history-as-fiction, and just possibly fiction-as-history, that's going to raise eyebrows-and probably hackles as well.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

On her 21st birthday, Harriet, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, his slave and mistress, is allowed to run north and pass into white society. Although Harriet's physical characteristics allow her outward passage to occur without difficulty, the psychological divisions she suffers endure for her lifetime. Obsessed by her desire for Jefferson to acknowledge his slave children, tormented by fears that her husband could be prosecuted for miscegenation and her children sold into slavery, Harriet struggles with the same questions that tear apart the Union and plunge the country into civil war. The question of racial definition and identity personalized in Harriet's experiences and self-examination makes for compelling reading. This engrossing sequel to Sally Hemings (LJ 6/15/79) deftly weaves historical facts with fascinating fiction. For most fiction collections.
--Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I found it hard to put the book down.
dodie stanley
I would definitely recommended this book to friends, family, & coworkers.
Felicia Harris
Excellent story that wove history and fiction together nicely.
Cora A. Victorine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Truly, this writer is a historian. The size of the book had me somewhat concerned prior to reading. However, I am glad I took the plunge. Wow! I just finished this book yesterday, and much to my chagrin, I discovered how much history I did not know. Even though this book is a novel, it is jammed packed with truisms. She dealt with the difficult history of race i.e. white president, black slave, and all of the dynamics of the era. It is not an easy read and some of the family letters did become somewhat cumbersome near the end. The book left me wanting to know more about the Civil War. She skillfully placed human characteristics on our historical figures. As a result of reading the book I am going to buy her previous work "Sally Hemings" to provide me the background. Educational read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
At the beginning of the book I could not put the book down. I live so close to Charlottesville and I was very interested in the very possible idea that Thomas Jefferson had a "second" family that was forbidden. The way Thomas Jefferson was portrayed in the book as a man who truely cared about his "second" family, but was unable to express that in front of anyone including them was hard to relate to. I think I am open minded and could not tolerate this behaviour from someone in today's society. Thomas Jefferson is believed to have had several children by Sally Hemmings however the only thing he ever gave to any of them was the privilege to leave Monticello at the age of 21 to live as they wish. Only he would not give them the papers they needed to be legally free. The book portrays Harriet Hemmings as the President's Daughter who passed as white in Philadelphia. She married into a prestigious white family and became a very wonderful person only she can not escape the fact that she has 1/8th black blood. She has a white skin tone with green eyes however she lives everyday wondering if someone, anyone knows who she really is. At the end of the book she finds out that someone has known for several years that she was "black" but never cared! I thought the book was great except towards the end I started to lose interest. This book is a great pic for anyone who is interested in the very possible history of their county's history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "July Lady" on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, even though i don't agree with some of the decisions harriet made in the book. It was good she was able to buy one of her family member at the slave auctions. I think both of her husband's would have loved her even though, she had black in her, but overall it was a good read, to let you know what happened to some of the characthers first met in Sally hemming.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Just_ A Reviewer on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great sequel to Sally Hemings A Novel which is probably the closest thing to a biography we will ever have on Sally. The President Daughter's at times was exciting, sad, and beautiful. The tale of this former slave Harriet Hemings living her life as a lie just to live a better life is heart breaking. I enjoyed immensly reading this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By virginia savoie on March 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting book about Thomas Jefferson's daughter. I got a very clear picture in my mind as I followed this young woman's life through adulthood. She had an amazing life! Scary and exhilarating! I'm going to read it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Felicia Harris on October 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was so interested in what happened next, I couldn't put the book down. I read it in half the time I would normally read a book of this magnitude. The descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was there with the other characters. I would definitely recommended this book to friends, family, & coworkers.
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