©2007 Karolyn Smardz Frost; (P)2007 Recorded Books
"[An] engrossing look at a couple who defied slavery." (Booklist)
I have been fascinated by the Underground Railroad since I first heard about it as a child. When I found this book, I thought it would be personal and well-researched. Though it is well-researched, especially since there were very few records kept, I found my mind wandering, picking up this book, putting it down... and I can't quite figure out why.
I like the narrator; she narrated "The New Jim Crowe", and I can't fault her performance here either. I just wish she had more to work with.
If you can get through this, tell me how it goes, because I just can't seem to get through it.
This is not as comprehensive an account of slavery as Inhuman Bondage, also available on Audible, but it is a much more personal account. It details the Blackburns' lives in slavery, their escapes from both Kentucky and Michigan, and their new lives in Canada. Frost accomplished a tour de force of research in compiling the Blackburns' stories, given how few records were kept of slaves and also given the fact that the Blackburns were illiterate and could leave no records of their own.
Frost uses the Blackburns' stories to illustrate neglected areas of history, such as the largely black role in the Underground Railroad, both in the U.S. and Canada, and the self-help efforts of African-Americans and African-Canadians to help the newly freed adjust to their new lives.
Much has been made of the irony of the U.S. being a nation of liberty founded on the back of slavery, but Frost goes beyond that to emphasize the irony of blacks escaping bondage in a land of liberty for freedom under the monarchy from which Americans rebelled.
I felt this book was a bit confusing as there are too many names and people mention so thus it was hard to follow as the author jumped all over the place. This made listening difficult as the "flow" was missing with jumping sideways from the main characters. Too many times I kept thinking; why isn't there more focus on the the characters. Three stars is a generous rating.
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