The Best Historical Biographies Reviewed By BookViral

Thomas Jefferson Family Secrets By William Hyland JR.


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  • ASIN: ‎ B09SD6ZD9B
  • Publisher: ‎ Palmetto Publishing; 1st edition (8 Feb. 2022)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Print length: ‎ 542 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN: ‎ 1685155723
  • Genre: Historical Biography

The BookViral Review:

There have been many books written about Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, style of politics and not least his controversial relationship with Sally Hemings. But for all that has been written, it is refreshing to read about the lesser-known and often obscure aspects of his family life, as opposed to the abstract national figure we are more familiar with. The influence he came to exert over following familial generations and the regard with which they held him.

Measured in his prose Hyland JR gives us a dense, intricate volume, and a companion biography to his earlier releases Long journey with Mr. Jefferson and Martha Jefferson: An Intimate Life with Thomas Jefferson. But unlike many historical biographies which are sketchy in the way they deal with the world beyond their principal Hyland JR adds a compelling element of social texture to ensure his characters are vividly and emotionally depicted. 

Intriguing, fascinating or brutal depending on the page Hyland JR writes in novelistic and unsparing detail to make us feel fully present in his narrative. From descriptions of Monticello to the murder and mutilation of a slave by Thomas Jefferson’s nephews. To his revealing and enthralling thoughts on Thomas Jefferson Randolph and Ellen Coolidge, few historians write with such eloquence.

But whilst a great deal of the pleasure of reading this book comes from the vivid character portraits Hyland JR draws it’s his ability to align generations of historical significance with a touching concern for familial factuality as he turns the spotlight on lesser-known family members such as Thomas Jefferson’s intellectually challenged younger brother, Randolph.

In Hyland JR’s prologue, he states – ‘My biography is an entirely new and provocative look at the intimate period of Jefferson’s turbulent later life, through the eyes of his oldest and most trusted relations’ – and he has certainly made good on that promise. 

An exceptional biographical read underpinned by extensive research THOMAS JEFFERSON FAMILY SECRETS is unreservedly recommended.

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