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Download Jefferson’s Sons Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Jefferson’s Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,105 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Narrator: Adenrele Oj Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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What does it mean when the man who wrote
the Declaration of Independence is your father
and also your slave master?
Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson’s children, but their mother is a slave, so they must keep their father’s identity secret. They get special treatment—better work, better shoes, even violin lessons—but they are still slaves. Their father has promised to set them all free when each turns twenty-one. Some of them are light-skinned enough that they will be able to enter white society—and thereby turn their backs on home forever. Others won’t have that option. So just what did their father mean when he wrote all men are created equal?
     Told in three parts from the points of view of three of Jefferson’s slaves—Beverly, Madison, and a third boy close to the Hemings family—these engaging and poignant voices shed light on what life was like as one of Thomas Jefferson’s invisible offspring.
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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michellet | 2/18/2014

    " Really good book about a topic seldom shared in history class. Yes, our founding fathers did have slaves and even children by them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bonnie Stottlemyer | 2/16/2014

    " Slow start, but the characters are well-developed, and I quickly grew to care about what happened to them. I would suggest reading the afterword as a forward for the detailed notes about the extensive basis in fact. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jessica | 2/7/2014

    " I was in high school when I first heard that Thomas Jefferson (most scholars agree) fathered several children in the course of a 20-year relationship with his slave Sally Hemings. I wasn't really shocked that a Founding Father had an affair, having the media coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair fresh in my mind, but the idea that Thomas Jefferson had both black and white descendants was very intriguing to me. After reading Jefferson's Sons, a great historical fiction novel about the lives of Jefferson's children with Sally Hemings, as well as some of his other slaves, I learned that Jefferson's "black descendants" actually were seven-eighths white, and, having hid their parentage, three of the four living children passed into white society. The idea that the man who penned the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal..." owned slaves, and in fact owned his own children, is not an easy one to swallow. Nor is the question "Even if he gives his slaves 'treats,' they don't get beaten, and the slaves are taught to read, is there such thing as a 'good' slave owner?" or "Can a great man participate in evil?" These are heavy, thought-provoking questions, but my one quibble with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is that she asks them outright instead of letting the reader come to them on their own. Even so, Jefferson's Sons is a far more subtle book than I'd initially thought. At first, I was annoyed that Sally Hemings' boys had such a reverential view of "Master Jefferson," the man who, I figured had more or less repeatedly raped their mother. In the book, the Hemings-Jefferson affair is treated as more of a consensual relationship, but as it goes on, you begin to see that Hemings might just be trying to preserve her sons' innocence. Bradley takes the meager facts that we know about the Hemings' boys (fact: Maddy couldn't pass for white, the others could; fact: Beverly left Monticello at 21 and returned a few months later) and weaves them into a believable story. That she also profiles several boys who are friends with the Hemings boys serves as an interesting contrast. Why do these boys, with the same experiences, living on the same estate, get to have vastly different lives? Why are two boys and a girl spared the indignity of trying to buy their own freedom? The ending of Jefferson's Sons is rather heartbreaking, but it's not too heavy for the intended audience. A good pick for Black History Month. Ages 12-14 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Linda Atkinson | 2/5/2014

    " Sometimes slow, sometimes repetitive, but a great attempt to tell the tale of Jefferson and his children by his slave. "

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