Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Randolph Women & Their Men by Ruth Doumlele

The Randolph Women and Their Men paints a rich and vivid portrait of post-Revolution life in the South on the scale of Gone With the Wind - only this story is true.  A professional historian, Ruth Doumlele has cleverly woven the many lives of the famous and infamous of that time into one seamless narrative.  While the Randolphs hold center stage, their exploits bring them together with those influential people - such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison- who determined our nation's legacy.

Not only does Doumlele bring to life the significant events of those turbulent years, she also provides a scintillating view of the private lives of the privileged.  Incest, betrayal, unrequited love- this book reveals the sometimes shocking, often poignant, always fascinating details of these remarkable women and their men. (Taken from the back of the book)

Though I loved the idea of this book, the reality was unpleasant for me.  Though rich in history, I felt like I was reading a textbook from high school.  The opening scene drew me right in, but the rest of the book put me right to sleep.  If you're looking for a slice of history, this could be your cup of tea.  My other issue with this book is the way that it skips throughout generations.  There are so many characters and the way this book is compiled, it's nearly impossible to keep up with who's being spoken about.  Unless, you have a notebook nearby and keep notes, you're not going to have any idea of which character is which or why you care about them.

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