A wealth of information a good history lesson on the art of power....Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings both making decisions that has effected our country up to now.. A great listen☺️
It belabored topics and would not give the reader the credit of being able to draw obvious conclusions AND THEN these would be repeated many times. In fact I missed somehow Part 2 in the audio download and did not think I missed a beat due to the repetition.
And some of her analogies and interpretations were really contradictory and confusing.
She also belabored many situations with my not getting the point as to why. And other ones, like the downtrodden condition of slaves, we all know very well. Specific incidents well-told were of value.
And she would say, "We could suppose..." that this or that happened. Of course! Anyone would! Supposition is way too prevalent, much of what would have been going into the mind of the reader of such a book.
This book could have been MUCH shorter and much more crisp in delivery.
I am really disappointed and dumbfounded as to how something so poorly written could have received both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer - a political decision?
There are some nuggets of history that kept making it worth listening to.
But the narrator's cadence was really annoying and played into the unnecessary length and repetition of the book.
But actually I found that the book and narration was causing me to fall asleep while driving, and it was only when the narrator hit one of the emphatic words in her cadence that jolted me a bit. I finally had to stop listening while driving. I would arrive to work wiped out.
Absolutely not - I love historical books with social richness, like the Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown.
Hmmmm...don't know who I would recommend. For short readings, I see her being very good.
There are too many to list.
It was not told as a story.
Yes, I think that the characters should have had dialogue and then had different readers for each character.
I got bored. It was a documentary, listing facts and names. I like a story.
Can I trade this for something else?
The text, while interesting, tends to be repetitive. The narrator consistently errs in inflection and has a monotonous voice.
Yes, to read, not to listen to.
Annette Gordon Reed begins this book perfectly: let's believe the stories black slaves told of their lives and experiences just as we believe those of white slaveholders. The book is deeply engaging. In telling the story of the Hemings family, you see the early history of America in a truer light - more disturbing - but rings very true.
This was a story that America will never forget nor should it be able to forget. Americas present race relation problem stems from this negative past. This story puts a lot in perspective. For me, it was quite an educational moment.
This book is a thorough study of history that has had to be pieced together and inferred, because so few documents exist. I found it fascinating, relevant and revealing--history of our country, that many white people, like myself, are unaware of.
This is a non-fiction book. My favorite characters are all the black people who were so important to the development of America, but whose history is unwritten, hidden and invisible.
Rather mechanical, could have more color in her voice.
No, but I enjoyed listening it every night for a month.
Some people have commented that the book could have been edited better. But in retrospect, after hearing the whole story, I appreciate very much having all the background information possible. It makes it all fit together.
The author has a challenging job because there are no written records by the Hemmingses at the time. The oral stories handed down to succeeding generations are backed up by considerable research from others who left journals and letters, as well as newspaper articles and other period records. I found it a bit irritating to be told repeatedly what someone (who left no records) would have felt in the given circumstances, but I found the solid information helpful in understanding the whole situation.
I listened to the entire book (parts of it several times because I kept falling asleep). The "story" of "history" made the details bearable.How peculiar it is to learn that Jefferson planned careers for his slaves, from barber to carpenter to French chef. The government machinations, even at the founding of our country, reverberate in our own times.
The narration is deplorable, with many complex terms mispronounced. I also found it a bit whiney. As another reviewer suggested, putting it on a faster speed makes it more bearable overall.
When I finished the book, I wandered through a website of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. It was interesting to find out that the Foundation has accepted the Hemmingses as descendants of Jeffereson because DNA tests strongly support it. They also have quite a collection of narratives, some from white descendents of the Hemmingses.
This book is too important to miss. It adds many pieces to the puzzle of US history, creating a total picture which would be difficult to find in other sources. Mow the lawn, do dishes, put it on double speed, do whatever it takes, but get through it. You'll be glad you did.
Trying to understand how slavery became a Southern legal institution is essential to understanding American history.The author attempts this arduous task by revealing the relationship of two families through four generations, one black, another white. The Hemings and the Jeffersons were entangled long before Sally Hemings came into Thomas Jefferson's life. Sally was the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson's deceased wife--a mind-boggling thought the author tries to articulate. This audible book is as fascinating as the book and is narrated well. One criticism: the author keeps explaining again and again how we need to realize attitudes were different during the formation of the Jamestown colony. That is pretty obvious, although I don't remember thinking that as I read the book. However, all sides of the slavery issue are presented, including philosophical questions of the fact that the United States permitted slavery while proclaiming itself a democracy. The best part is the "love" story between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Why didn't Sally remain in Paris instead of going back with Jefferson as his slave? Did she regret her choice? Why did Jefferson make a "treaty" with Sally to "free" her adult children? Did Jefferson love Sally or is it impossible to love someone you legally own? The answers are not fully resolved because scholars simply don't know, but the questions are intriguing and thought-provoking.