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Publisher's Summary

Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson, the public man, and with good reason: He was the architect of our democracy and a visionary who expanded the nation’s physical boundaries to unimagined lengths. But the intensely private Jefferson joined in a conspiracy to make himself unknowable to the public. Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets is a new and unprecedented examination of the “intimate” Thomas Jefferson—from his return to Monticello after two terms as president until his death. 

Author William G. Hyland Jr. pierces Jefferson's private family veil and reveals poignant little-known scenes of the relatives closest to Jefferson in his last years. Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets is the first biography to uncover the dynamic relationship Jefferson had with his adult grandchildren. With a novelist’s skill and a scholar’s meticulous detail, Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets explores new ground in Jefferson’s autumn years as a waning patriarch, enduring physical illness and family strife. These glimpses of Jefferson’s inner character will change the way listeners think about this American icon: as a flawed—but benevolent—man.

©2022 William G. Hyland (P)2022 Blackstone Publishing

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OUTSTANDING BIOGRAPHY

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“An excellent book that intertwines Jefferson's family, his legacy, and his tragedies…readable and well referenced. I enjoyed reading Hyland's work and will be proud to place it in my Jefferson Library.” Dr. W. Makenzie Wallenborn---Jefferson Scholar and Former President of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society; author the Minority Report on the Sally Hemings 1998 DNA study.

“Beautifully written and manages to tell the story in a seamless way. The reader is taken on a journey through Jefferson’s world without being weighed down by academic jargon. The work is clearly grounded in historical evidence and research…a great job in successfully weaving it in.”
Dr. Holly Caldwell, Editor and Adjunct Professor

“Thomas Jefferson is a famous and revered figure in American history. But in his last years, his family life was clouded by turmoil, domestic violence, insolvency and a series of false allegations that damaged Jefferson’s reputation. William G. Hyland Jr. has diligently uncovered previously unexplored evidence providing dramatic insights into Jefferson’s life and circumstances. This in-depth and illuminating study of Jefferson through the lens of his intimate family members helps to correct the historical record and provides a fascinating picture of an important family in a critical period of American history…Very well done.” Author Joseph F. Johnston Jr, Author, The Decline of Nations: Lessons for Strengthening America at Home and in the World.

“Thomas Jefferson’s last, sad years are often overlooked. Fortunately, scholar William Hyland has brought that time to light. He exposes one of Jefferson’s character flaws—his inability to control his personal spending, which led to enormous personal debt and the forced sale of his beloved Monticello estate. Hyland also exposes the deeply loving relationships Jefferson had with his two favorite grandchildren. For completeness, Hyland presents new and important information about the Sally Hemings controversy. Anyone interested in Thomas Jefferson simply must read this new work.”--Historian and Author Arthur Downey, The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion that Led the U.S. and Great Britain to the Brink of War (2014) and Civil War Lawyers: Constitutional Questions, Courtroom Dramas, and the Men Behind Them (2011)