Book Note: Henry Wiencek’s Master of the Mountain

While I am recovering, I have a lot of time to read. Currently, I am reading David Barton’s Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, The Founders’ Bible, Jonathan Merritt’s A Faith of Our Own and Henry Wiencek’s new book Master of the Mountain about Jefferson as slave owner.

Thus far, I am very impressed with Wiencek’s book. He looks at numerous primary source documents to show the real Jefferson as slave owner. This book more than debunks David Barton’s whitewash of Jefferson in The Jefferson Lies. We covered similar ground in Getting Jefferson Right but Wiencek devotes an entire book to the topic.

Although I have not finished the book, I can already recommend it. See this Smithsonian article for an extended look at what is in the book.  One topic we did not cover in GJR was Jefferson’s treatment of the “nail boys” – the young boys assigned to make nails for Jefferson. In graphic terms, Wiencek details the atrocities committed against these 10-15 year old slaves. Wiencek produces evidence from a page of Jefferson’s Farm Book which has only recently become available.

There is much more and I hope to write a more formal review when I finish the book.