Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

Written by Henry Wiencek
Review by Elena Maria Vidal

Master of the Mountain by Henry Wiencek shows us American history as it was, not as we might want it to be. The ugliness of slavery, even in the “best” of circumstances, is laid bare as the author uses his study of the relationship of Thomas Jefferson with his slaves to show us once and for all that slavery was not merely an immoral system; it was an insane system. While Jefferson himself condemned slavery in no uncertain terms in his writings he nevertheless did everything he could throughout his life to perpetuate it. In the end he died in bankruptcy; it was his slaves who paid his debts by being sold on the auction block. Carefully researched, every contention in this book is backed up by references, including the discoveries of the most recent scholarship.