From the list on the fascinating families of America’s founders.
Who am I?
As a child, I loved reading books about time travel, and now as a historian, I do a sort of time travel for my job. I have always been especially drawn to reading women’s correspondence, particularly when the women involved were pushing against gender roles and finding ways to access political power. I approach doing history as if it’s an ethnography of a group of people with entirely different beliefs, norms, and even emotions from us today; after all, the past is a foreign country. I’m especially intrigued by uncovering how personal relationships worked in the past and how relationships with political figures allowed family and friends to access power.
Cassandra's book list on the fascinating families of America’s founders
Why did Cassandra love this book?
Annette Gordon-Reed’s work has reshaped historians’ understanding of Thomas Jefferson and his relationship with Sally Hemings.
This expansive and prize-winning biography goes beyond that pair to offer a sweeping study of the Hemings family over the course of a century. Enslaved people left few written records, but Gordon-Reed teases out the family’s story with care and creativity. While Thomas Jefferson never publicly recognized the Hemingses as his family, this book shows that he cannot be fully understood without them.