The Controversial Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson

New book about the founding father and slavery wins raves—but not from specialists

The Controversial Contradictions of Thomas Jefferson 1

Tom Cogill

Henry Wiencek, author of a book about Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder, says he grew impatient with scholarship he was seeing as he did his research.

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Tom Cogill

Henry Wiencek, author of a book about Thomas Jefferson as a slaveholder, says he grew impatient with scholarship he was seeing as he did his research.

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves is a "train wreck of a book" written by a man who so loathes Jefferson that he was willing to play fast and loose with historical evidence in order to paint the author of the Declaration of Independence as an avid proponent of slavery.

Or Master of the Mountain, released last month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is a brilliant examination of a founding father who repeatedly violated the principles he expressed, a