Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; An AmericanSlave

Written by himself, Introduction by Peter Gomes, Afterword by Gregory Stephens, Signet Classics, New York 2005, originally published 1845.
This book is a must read to understand American history and slavery.  I have read books about Frederick Douglass, but never his own word.  He tells an exciting story of his own thirst for freedom, which was not to be denied.  A mistress gave him a thirst for reading, and he used that to learn to read, even if it meant tricking the neighborhood boys to teach him.  An early climax is when Douglass stands up to his slave runner, and tells him no more.  They scuffle for some time, but Douglass escapes the beating.  He makes an excellent point about religion and how a man of religion could tolerate such treatment.  How could a Christian go to church and profess piety, and then starve, abuse, beat and misuse their fellowmen.  I think we all need to reflect on being better people and better Christians.
As I said excellent autobiographical book.  Of course Douglass lived many years after writing this book, so we miss most of his life, but this book is about slavery, and was very useful to the abolitionists.  It is also useful today to provide a glimpse of conditions amongst the slaves.
Click here for a story about Frederick Douglas learning to read and write.
And click here for a biography of Frederick Douglas.

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