Booknotes :: Watch
Annette Gordon-Reed promises to intensify this ongoing debate as she identifies glaring inconsistencies in many noted scholars' evaluations of the existing evidence. She has assembled a fascinating and convincing argument: not that the alleged thirty-eight-year liaison necessarily took place but rather that the evidence for its taking place has been denied a fair hearing. Possessing both a layperson's unfettered curiosity and a lawyer's logical mind, Annette Gordon-Reed writes with a style and compassion that are irresistible. Her analysis is accessible, with each chapter revolving around a key figure in the Hemings drama. The resulting portraits are engrossing and very personal. Gordon-Reed also brings a keen intuitive sense of the psychological complexities of human relationships—relationships that, in the real world, often develop regardless of status or race. The most compelling element of all, however, is her extensive and careful research, which often allows the evidence to speak for itself.
—from the publisher's website