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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2013

From the best-selling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade - and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town - with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

Over the ensuing months, Henry - whom Brown nicknames Little Onion - conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 - one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

©2013 James McBride (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

fantastic! I loved it.

great fictional satirical account of an awesome piece of history. The dialogue was historical. must read

  • Overall
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  • Story

Michael Boatman was amazing!!!!!!

Any additional comments?

Michael Boatman was an amazing reader of this book!!! His voices and intonations made the whole book.

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  • monica
  • chapel hill nc, NC, United States
  • 01-20-16

The best ever

If you could sum up The Good Lord Bird in three words, what would they be?

Learned a lot about afro-americans and whites befoe the amancipation of the slaves

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Good Lord Bird?

When Onion discovered who his true self was

What does Michael Boatman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Best reader of all the books on Audible ever. He changed accents. He made you feel that the characters were real.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

the Good Lord Bird

Any additional comments?

Loved the book. Cant give it enough praise

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  • CD
  • CT
  • 11-23-15

A very interesting if somewhat preposterous story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Good Lord Bird to be better than the print version?

A very interesting if somewhat preposterous story! But, I loved every minute of it. A cross-dressing escaped slave rides with the legendary John Brown. Not true, of course, but an amazing "what if." Well narrated, beautiful writing, and a funny and entertaining book with many serious themes concerning history, race, and the stories we tell about the past.

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Just ok

This was a short story expended significantly into a novel. I had a very difficult time wanting to read more. And I just didn't get much out of it. What was really the point? If it was to give a historical account, it could have been much shorter.

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Wonderful performance, exceptional writing

Loved it. Worth the listen. Outstanding vocalizations, and bark out loud funny at times. Please listen and push on your friends.

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An interesting audio!

Powerful but light-hearted approach to a difficult matter! Unique as from the eyes of a child

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Voices

It was a great book but it was a little disconcerting to listen to and hear the speaker use certain words I cannot hear without cringing a little. Reading it would help deal better with the voice in my head for a young boy instead of an adult man. A very good book that gives a different look into an odd mans place in history we don't usually get.

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Very Entertaining Listen to a Well-Written Story

Would you listen to The Good Lord Bird again? Why?

Michael Boatman is a fantastic narrator, and James McBride wrote a very entertaining, touching book. I honestly did not listen to it for any historical fact, just listened for the pure pleasure of a well-written, well-told story.

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Very humorous😄

I enjoyed the humor in the book, it wasn't like other slavery books that sometimes leave you upset or sad. Though there where some ill moments, I still enjoyed it.