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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello
This interesting book is released at a very opportune time since the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture mounted in late January an exhibition on Jefferson and Slavery which runs through October 14, 2012. This is a collection of essays mostly previously published by Lucia Stanton, the Shannon Senior Historian at the TJ Foundation at Monticello. Ms...
Published on April 9, 2012 by Ronald H. Clark

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jefferson's relationship with his slaves
I didn't realize that this was a compilation of individual articles--I thought it was many chapters of one book. I was hoping for something more definitive.
Published 22 months ago by carol lowe


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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello, April 9, 2012
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This review is from: "Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America) (Paperback)
This interesting book is released at a very opportune time since the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture mounted in late January an exhibition on Jefferson and Slavery which runs through October 14, 2012. This is a collection of essays mostly previously published by Lucia Stanton, the Shannon Senior Historian at the TJ Foundation at Monticello. Ms. Stanton has studied slavery at Monticello for decades and has a firm and thorough hand on the existing historical evidence and related materials. First off is a helpful Introduction by Peter S. Onuf and Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, that offers some initial insights into the topic. Gordon-Reed, now of Harvard Law School, has especially written extensively on the personal family dynamics at Monticello.

The first group of essays focuses on Jefferson's relationship to slavery. The essays on household management, rational plantation management, and his personal interactions with his slaves I found to be particularly interesting. How TJ ran his nailery, relying upon child labor in the extreme, was somewhat jarring; but the overall tone of the essays is that TJ ran a humane and generally harmonious enslaved operation at Monticello. Ms. Stanton is one of the prime movers in the "Getting Word project," which searches out the descendants of the Monticello slaves and interviews them for a family history view of slave life under Jefferson. Some of these insights are incorporated into this first group of essays.

The second group of essays is captioned "Families in Slavery." One essay tries to assess TJ through the eyes of his slaves and is quite interesting. But the bulk of this section is taken up with the republication of Ms. Stanton's nearly 200-page monograph, "Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello." Once again relying heavily upon the "Getting Word" interviews, the author concentrates upon five or so of key slavery families, what they did after TJ's death, and their descendants. This is also a key theme of the Smithsonian exhibition which has many important documents and items from these families.

"Families in Freedom" is the title of the third section. This covers the period after TJ's death in 1826, when some slaves were freed, as well as the post Civil War period of liberation. One of the most interesting essays in the collection studies how the Hemings family acquired real estate in Charlottesville and created a post-slavery life. Two other essays focus as well on the Hemings family.

Any collection of essays runs the risk of overlap and repetition, and there is some of that here. Also the incorporated version of "Free Some Day" lacks most of the illustrations and charts of the monograph version. But overall, this collection is just "chock full" of interesting and insightful information on enslaved people at Monticello, and Jefferson's relationship to and interaction with them. The authors' professional tone and analytical emphasis add an important perspective on what is always a very touching but understandably also an excitable topic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jefferson's relationship with his slaves, February 13, 2013
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carol lowe (redding, ca United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: "Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America) (Paperback)
I didn't realize that this was a compilation of individual articles--I thought it was many chapters of one book. I was hoping for something more definitive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential source for understanding life at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, October 7, 2012
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This review is from: "Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America) (Paperback)
If you have ever wondered about the lives of African Americans before Emancipation, read Cinder Stanton's ground-breaking work. You won't just learn about life at Monticello, you'll meet wonderful individuals with moving stories, impressive talents, and the fortitude to endure slavery. This volume includes the now out-of-print "Free Some Day," an excellent monograph concerning the major slave families owned by Thomas Jefferson.

These essays represent a career dedicated to exploring primary resources concerning life at Monticello and are essential reading for anyone interested in daily life at Jefferson's endlessly fascinating plantation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Jefferson scholars., October 2, 2014
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Karen Mcgoldrick (Alpharetta, Ga. USA) - See all my reviews
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I am a sucker for any book about our Founding Fathers. But, this one was special. It gave me insight into the daily life at Monticello and the stresses for both master and slave. The practice was degrading for both...and although no one would choose to be a slave, being a master was a horrible trap too. I also found new insight into the Jefferson family dynamics....talk about disfunctional! They wouldn't have used that word of course, but WOW. If you love reading anything about Jefferson's life ...this is a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Those Who Labor For My Happiness......., October 14, 2013
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This is a very interesting read if you like history and want to know more about Thomas Jefferson and life in Virginia in the late 1700's and early 1800's, It is not always easy to read because it is not a "story" but for the most part actual copies of letters and writings of the people involved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slavery but also the time after slavery -, August 13, 2013
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Actually, this book is about more than slavery but also the generations afterward and what became of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming's descendants or supposed descendants because no one will ever know for sure. Given how men tend to be, I think that although Jefferson did not believe the two races should "mingle" he did quite a bit of "mingling" with Sally Hemmings. I was disappointed to read how ordinary Jefferson was as a plantation owner and while he may have had innovative ideas about farming, he seemed to be the typical slave owner - no better nor worse. But he did provide a lot of specific training for his slaves which they found useful when they were free and many continued on in the same trade they had learned in slavery - often from highly successful professionals and artists. They would not have had exposure to these elite folks without Thomas Jefferson. In any case I found the book highly readable and very interesting and would like to know more. Which is the sign of a good book!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good companion piece to Wiencek's history of Jefferson and his slaves., April 2, 2013
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This review is from: "Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America) (Paperback)
A good companion piece to "Master of His Mountain:Thomas Jefferson and his Slaves." These two books complement and contrast each other in presenting a very balanced view of our third president as the master of his fiefdom:Monticello.
Should be required reading for college history students.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting books I ever read, December 20, 2012
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The book gives a unique insight into the world of slavery - which is very rare. It also has helped me to understand what has made America such a violent and excessively aggressive society - something that I have often wondered about. After all, Canada was settled in those days also, but has turned out a much better nation. And this book has helped me tremendously to answer that question. I do not think the author intended this at all, but I still want to thank her for that very much.
Regards,
Trine Mikkelsen, Denmark
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9 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Author, Cinder Stanton Selectively Covers much at Monticello, June 2, 2012
By 
Herbert Barger (Ft. Washington, Md. USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: "Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America) (Paperback)
Ms. Stanton is careful to "tip toe away and around" Thomas Jefferson's much younger brother, Randolph, mentioning him only twice, selling two slaves to Thomas and only once again when she mentions that slave, Isaac Granger Jefferson states, "would come out among black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night." Of course she "forgot" to finish the interview, "he had not as much sense as myself."

Why would this researcher not add much more about Randolph Jefferson, the chief suspect in being the ancestral grandfather of some of the Hemings children, including the one tested, John Weeks Jefferson? The Eston Hemings family had always claimed that they descend from,"a Jefferson uncle or nephew", translated to mean Randolph Jefferson whom the Hemings children and TJ's grandchildren knew as "uncle Randolph." Why would she NOT tell the reader that Randolph was invited to Monticello to be with his twin sister EXACTLY nine months prior to Eston Hemings birth? Why would she not tell the reader that their own Monticello Report, Chaired by African-American oral history specialist, Dianne Swann-Wright and the 10 person prominent African-Americans, including NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond, would indicate that two or three of Randolph's sons were at Monticello at the approximate time that Sally became pregnent with Eston Hemings, however they tried to explain that they were too young, at 14 1/2,18 and 21?? How many of the readers of this review read the Monticello DNA Study, which has been soundly taken apart by the Scholars Commission?

Monticello has also inserted information into the Monticello displays at Monticello and at the Smithsonian which indicate that Mr. Jefferson fathered slave children. The Monticello visitor center film also contains false information to this effect. Ms. Stanton and Annette Gordon-Reed are responsible for this stance.

I told Dr Foster, whom I assisted with the DNA Study, that he MUST inform Nature Journal of the claims of the Eston Hemings family because if they are correct there would be a match, and there was. Dr Foster REFUSED to do this and worked closely with Nature to perfect a FALSE and misleading headline, "Jefferson fathers slave's last child." Yes, I have e-mails to this effect from Foster and Nature.

Ms. Stanton is the chief architect in establishing the Getting Word Project (slavey oral history)in which the "memorial" was eleminated from their title, a notation that the foundation was a MEMORIAL to Mr Jefferson. NOW who are they memorializing?

The first push to "go after" Mr Jefferson occured in Oct 1992 as written in "Jeffersonian Legacies" edited by UVA historian, Prof Peter Onuf (which Ms. Stanton gives great praise to for his assistance.) By the way, the Peter Onuf History Chair is sponsored by Monticello and it is he and several other "modern historians" who have met annually to write anti-Jefferson material. Annette Gordon-Reed is also a great friend of Ms. Stanton and closely worked with her in this project which greatly tries to deminish Mr. Jefferson's legacy. Only one sentence from the book is from Prof Richard Rorty which will define their countinued efforts to spread false and unproved material about Mr. Jefferson. That sentence, "Richard Rorty eloquently made the case for setting aside questions of historical accuracy and philosophical justification in order to sustain the present day cause of international human rights, a cause that has lately invoked the Jeffersonian tradition to profound effect." Thank you Prof Rorty for informing us to realize what your organization is all about.

I formed the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society to make the public aware of the functions of this group. Now it is up to the public to have an "outcry" to such manipulation of great men such as Mr. Jefferson. The public is being CONNED.

I have much more facts and e-mails that will convince the reader of this agenda and invite any serious investigator or author who wishes to publish the truth of the study.

Herbert Barger
Founder, Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society
Assistant to Dr E.A. Foster, DNA Study
[...]
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"Those Who Labor for My Happiness": Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (Jeffersonian America)
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