A Madman's Will

Now from Gregory May

A MADMAN’S WILL: John Randolph, Four Hundred Slaves, and the Mirage of Freedom

Winner of the Richard Slatten Award for Excellence in Virginia Biography

“Gregory May deftly explores a great mystery of nineteenth-century America: Why did the most eloquent champion of Southern slavery free hundreds of his own enslaved people? Combining the expertise of lawyer and historian, May unravels rich documents to reveal how Northern whites frustrated an emancipation approved by Southern courts.”
—Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Republics

“May lucidly untangles the legal proceedings and draws vivid character sketches of Randolph and others, while building an irrefutable case that freedom is only the first step to equality. This is history at its finest."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Gregory May is a historian who writes about the early American republic. His first book, Jefferson’s Treasure, brought a fresh and vigorous perspective to the new nation’s financial history. A Madman’s Will now tells the story of one of the largest and most controversial private emancipations in United States history. 
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