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Publisher's Summary

An important book of epic scope on America's first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for change.

The civil war brought to a climax the country's bitter division. But the beginnings of slavery's denouement can be traced to a courageous band of ordinary Americans, black and white, slave and free, who joined forces to create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a movement that occupies as romantic a place in the nation's imagination as the Lewis and Clark expedition. The true story of the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country's westward expansion arose a fierce clash of values that was nothing less than a war for the country's soul. Not since the American Revolution had the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only challenged prevailing mores but also subverted federal law.

Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country's first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.

©2005 Fergus Bordewich (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"An excellent book...as close to a definitive history as we're likely to see." (The Wall Street Journal) "The...stories...inspire, horrify, and humble." (Washington Post)

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  • MAG
  • New York, NY
  • 04-28-16

Should have used a professional reader

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Generally I like to hear the author read, but Mr. Bordewich has a habit of starting a sentence loudly and trailing off to a half-whisper at the end. It makes it difficult to find a comfortable volume, and very annoying to listen to. Despite an otherwise engaging narrative, I couldn't make it past the first chapter. Maybe I'll try the Kindle version.