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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
By: (1818-1895)

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation. He faced hardship as a child, but later encountered owners who were relatively liberal and allowed him to learn to read, write and be in contact with freed slaves. At the age of 20, he escaped from the plantation and made his way to New York. Though he remained a fugitive, he married and changed his name to avoid being caught. He continued his education and became involved in the Abolitionist Movement. He began touring the country, speaking passionately about the unjust, cruel and inhuman practice of slavery. However, he began to face opposition from quarters that he least expected.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass traces the turbulent, tragic and shameful period in the history of the United States. Douglass was also a gifted and committed public speaker, outspoken in his criticism of this inhuman practice. The book, published in 1845, originally entitled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written By Himself, was met with disbelief when it initially came out. Few could believe that an African American slave could write so eloquently and have such perfect use of the English language. However, Douglass had used real names, events and places in his story, which could be easily verified and this silenced his critics.

Yet, his troubles were not over. His former masters were still entitled to track him down, and fearing capture, he departed for the UK where he was received with great warmth and respect. He stayed for two years till two of his British friends contributed to purchase his freedom. He then returned to America where he arrived at the dawn of the American Civil War. He started a newspaper and campaigned tirelessly for Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. He was also the first African American to be nominated for the post of Vice President of the USA. Narrative... was the first of several autobiographies, in which Douglass documented his eventful life.

The book is divided into 11 chapters, tracing Douglass' childhood on the Maryland plantation, the daily cruelties practiced by slave owners, his move to Baltimore and the consequent experiences there. It is in Baltimore that he encounters more humane white people. However, even after being acclaimed as a speaker, he faced the condescending and patronizing attitude of white people. It was to counter this that he began to write his autobiography.

As a slice of history, Narrative... is indeed an interesting and gripping read, and a great addition to your collection.

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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 11 reviews)

Reviewer: - August 30, 2015
Subject: Stirring and insightful
I've gained invaluable insight as to the thought processes of our people. I am amazed at how the undercurrents can still be felt today. I always questioned the rage of the previous generations and the perceived irrational anger. Now I consider that they learned the language from the white man wouldn't they also learn the violence and disregard for human life as well?
Reviewer: - January 17, 2015
Subject: Jan 16/15
Interesting account of how American slavery was and how the brain works during extreme treatments for both the slave and owner. But at the same time it sounded so insane and disturbing.
Reviewer: - June 28, 2014
Great book, reader leaves a lot to be desired.
August 29, 2013
I like this book!
Reviewer: - July 27, 2013
The reader seems like she is bored throughtout the whole book.
Reviewer: - June 1, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story.
Reviewer: - May 31, 2013
Subject: Story
I'm glad I listened to this book.
Reviewer: - March 29, 2013
Subject: Reader
Reader seemed like she was bored and did not wan't to read.
Reviewer: - March 15, 2013
Subject: Reader
The reader probably thought she did a good job. But i couldn't get through the preface, because her voice was annoying. She did not read with any feeling. I will read it my self.
January 28, 2013
It was a good book but the reader was horrible! I'm sorry but her voice just did not suit the book and it was hard to get into the book with her reading it as if it were a book in a different language and she had no interest in it what so ever. :/ sorry, but that's that, I liked the story though. I find story's like this with a slave brave enough to run away like that amazing!
Reviewer: - January 16, 2013
Subject: Great book, needs a diff reader
This is 1 of 3 autobiographies by Mr. Douglass. The reader sounds like a college girl who is reading something she's never read before and has absolutely no idea on the seriousness of the topic. She reads the descriptions of the horrible acts of the slavemaster like she was reading any basic work of fiction without any sort of appropriate emotionalism during it. I gave up on it part way through and will purchase the audible version instead.

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