Book Review: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Five Stars

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Book Review: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave by Frederick Douglass

Five Stars

“The wretchedness of slavery and the blessedness of freedom, were perpetually before me. It was life and death to me.”

The straight scoop from the giant of abolition. Frederick Douglass’ life and words–not Abraham Lincoln, certainly not Stephen Douglas–mark the beginning of the end for slavery in America. Self-liberated, self-taught, read his words for yourself. His life illustrates the power of literacy to lift a man over apparently insurmountable odds.

“For her to treat me as a human being was not only wrong, but dangerously so.”

Conceived in the adulterous lust of his white master, born in the for-that-time moderate slave state of Maryland, owned by respected Christian men; Douglass puts to rest the many myths and lies surrounding the practice and impact of slavery on both the imprisoned and the imprisoners. It’s not pleasant reading. Yet the truth varies from the popular representations today spread by those both defending and condemning America 170 years ago.

“Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the inch.”

Should be mandatory reading in every high school history course in the United States. Primary documents, such as this, tell the story far better than the propaganda that most states offer. Well written; short and to the point.

“Thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends.”

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