Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Prophet of Freedom

Book - 2018
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"The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery. Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African-Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights. In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass's newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass's two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight's Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2018
ISBN: 9781416590316
Branch Call Number: 921 Dougl
Description: 888 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History, Blight uses papers that were not previously available to present this complete and well-researched biography.

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Jan 20, 2021

This is a tome of massive number of pages and words about a remarkable American - Frederick Douglass. Since Douglass was a great orator and writer, the author has a lot to deal with massive written records of Douglass himself and correspondence from many of his supporters in US, UK and Germany. In addition thousands of New Paper articles were written about Douglass. The biography is very thorough from boyhood to his death. Author often psychoanalyzes his writing. Douglass changes from a pacifist to a warring person during the Civil war. His interactions with President Lincoln are most amazing. Throughout his life he is slighted for his color again and again - and that in the North! During most of these events he keeps his calm against the indignities heaped on him. I am also impressed by his handling of harsh criticisms - he seem to get more energized when his enemies attack him in press or speeches. So if you have patience to read this massive tome, I highly recommend it.

Sep 19, 2020

Massive biography of Frederick Douglass, this volume is often brilliant, occasionally plodding, but definitely worth reading. Blight does a good job of presenting who Frederick Douglass was, as a human being, from a little boy born into slavery with only the faintest memories of his mother (from whom he was separated at an early age) to a self-made elder statesman, who continued to spread the word about racism to the day he died. Many of the themes that Douglass gave voice to remain, sadly, pertinent today.

Feb 29, 2020

One of the best history books/bios I have read. Profound, insightful, and very relevant today.

Dec 13, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It gave me new perspectives of the Civil War, U.S. Grant, the Jim Crow era as well as learning much about a man a thought I knew: his power as a public orator, his publication of newspapers, his thoughts in England & Ireland, his family life. Yes, it is very detailed - it is not a book to be read over the weekend. But there was so much Blight wanted us to know about this important man.

Mar 15, 2019

NYT 10 Best 2018

Jan 28, 2019

In depth detail and too thorough for my interests, each year broken down month by month. It is one of the more difficult bios to get through.

Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018


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