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Publisher's Summary

This sweeping biography about the man who was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is an epic tale of courage and bravery in the face of unimaginable trials.

The Road to Dawn tells the improbable story of Josiah Henson - a dynamic, driven man with exceptional intelligence and unyielding principles, who overcame incredible odds to escape from slavery and improve the lives of hundreds of freedmen throughout his long life. He was immortalized by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin and catapulted to international fame, though his story has been lost to history. Until now.  

The book chronicles Henson's 42 years spent in bondage and his eventual escape with his wife and four young children, carrying the youngest two on his broken shoulders for 600 miles, eventually settling with his family as a free man across the border in Canada. Once there, Henson rescued 118 more slaves, including his own brother, and purchased land to build what would become one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad, a 500-person freeman settlement called Dawn.  

The Road to Dawn retraces Henson's path from slavery to freedom and restores a hero of the abolitionist movement to his rightful place in history.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Jared A. Brock (P)2018 PublicAffairs

Critic Reviews

"The Road to Dawn is an honest and moving portrait of one of our nation's greatest unsung heroes. Jared Brock's biography brings much-deserved attention to Josiah Henson's epic life story, serving as a reminder to what can be accomplished when we fight on the right side of history." (The Right Honorable Paul Martin, PC, 21st Prime Minister of Canada)

"Among the many incredible things he accomplished throughout his lifetime, readers might be surprised to learn Josiah Henson was one of our nation's first social entrepreneurs. The Road to Dawn expertly explains how education and economy are key elements for achieving emancipation and equality." (Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts, managing director, Bain Capital Double Impact)

"Vivid...a moving account of Henson's life and a book from which readers will learn a great deal about the struggle against slavery." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • plcd22
  • CHAMBERSBURG, PA, US
  • 07-04-18

Great book and very informative

First I really liked the book. The story of Josiah Henson needs to be told more and more people need to be aware of his life!
The book was well organized and told the story in a captivating way! I listened to the whole thing in 2 days - 8 hours straight one day and finished it up the second day!

The last chapter was the only part that I didn’t enjoy. The author tried to “call to action” by naming some things that we SHOULD do now. A lot of his ideas sounded ok but he seemed to stress the importance is paying black people now as retribution for their past - I agree that what happened was terrible and horrific but this does not fall on the shoulders of anyone alive today in the USA. Yes our ancestors did some terrible things but we don’t have slaves anymore and to promote this kind of “pay them back with money” will only further incite the racial divide in the country. He also tried to equate low wages today to slave labor which is not only inaccurate but actually cheapens the horrific live that blacks faced in this country. Low wages is nothing like slave labor - if you don’t like how little you are paid then find another job. Slaves didn’t have that option!

Other than that I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone as a must read/listen!

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Made me cry for so many reasons

This book was amazing , it changed my way of thinking about slavery and I thought i had s pretty good understanding but this book is excellent in its reading and explanations and i have never read Uncle Toms Cabin because I thought I knew what it was about , my next book WILL be Uncle Toms Cabin . Wonderful thank you

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Excellent story of a life that changed the country

Josiah Henson was a remarkable man who endured the horrors of slavery while remaining true to his faith. It was great to get to know him through this book.

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A Must Read!

This book is fantastic!! Enjoyed the timeline account of this man's nothing short of amazing. His story gives a more accurate account of how "Uncle Tom's Cabin", can to be and even I can agree, he is his own man, and is not Uncle Tom.