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August First   By:

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August First by Roy Irving Murray is a compelling historical fiction that transports readers back to the tumultuous days of the 19th century, focusing on the struggle of African Americans in their fight for freedom. Murray skillfully weaves a vivid narrative that combines well-researched historical events with fictional characters, creating a powerful and immersive reading experience.

The novel revolves around the lives of two main characters, Sarah and Jacob, whose paths converge and diverge throughout the story. Sarah, a courageous and determined young woman born into slavery, dreams of a life beyond the confines of bondage. Her resilience and fierce spirit shine through the pages, as she refuses to accept failure or succumb to the injustices around her. Jacob, on the other hand, is a biracial freeman with a strong sense of justice. He joins the abolitionist movement and becomes deeply involved in the Underground Railroad, risking his life to fight for his people's freedom.

What sets August First apart is the author's meticulous attention to historical accuracy. Murray expertly incorporates real-life figures, such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, into the story, seamlessly blending their actions and dialogues with those of the fictional characters. This not only adds depth and credibility to the narrative but also provides readers with a glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of these iconic figures of the abolitionist movement.

Moreover, the book effectively captures the oppressive atmosphere prevalent during that time. By highlighting the brutalities of slavery, Murray paints a vivid and often horrifying picture of the inhumane treatment of African Americans. The descriptions are often raw and unapologetic, making it impossible for readers to remain indifferent to the characters' plight. Yet, amidst the darkness, August First also showcases the unwavering hope and strength that emerges from the depths of adversity.

The pacing of the novel is well-balanced, although it occasionally slows in certain sections where the author delves into historical details or provides background information. Nevertheless, Murray's prose is elegant and eloquent, effectively conveying the characters' emotions and dilemmas. Through his writing, readers become intimately acquainted with Sarah and Jacob, cheering them on during their brave endeavors and sharing their heartaches and triumphs.

August First is a captivating and thought-provoking read that sheds light on an important and often overlooked part of American history. Roy Irving Murray has created a powerful narrative that not only immerses readers in the struggles of African Americans but also serves as a reminder of the resilience and indomitable spirit of those who fought for freedom. This book is highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction or have an interest in the abolitionist movement.

First Page:




Illustrated by A. I. Keller

[Frontispiece: "She that's it that's the gist of it fool that I am."]

New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1915 Copyright, 1915, by Charles Scribner's Sons Published March, 1915



The long fingers pulled at the clerical collar as if they might tear it away. The alert figure swung across the room to the one window not wide open and the man pushed up the three inches possible. "Whee!" he brought out again, boyishly, and thrust away the dusty vines that hung against the opening from the stone walls of the parish house close by. He gasped; looked about as if in desperate need of relief; struck back the damp hair from his face. The heat was insufferable. In the west black gray clouds rolled up like blankets, shutting out heaven and air; low thunder growled; at five o'clock of a midsummer afternoon it was almost dark; a storm was coming fast, and coolness would come with it, but in the meantime it was hard for a man who felt heat intensely just to get breath. His eyes stared at the open door of the room, down the corridor which led to the room, which turned and led by another open door to the street.

"If they're coming, why don't they come and get it over?" he murmured to himself; he was stifling it was actual suffering... Continue reading book >>

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