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Publisher's Summary

Did you know that many of America's Founding Fathers - who fought for liberty and justice for all - were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were "owned" by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country's great tragedy - that a nation "conceived in liberty" was also born in shackles.

These stories help us know the real people who were essential to the birth of this nation but traditionally have been left out of the history books. Their stories are true - and they should be heard.

Read by Ken Davis, with Frankie Faison, Keith David, JD Jackson, Adenrele Ojo, Adam Lazarre-White, Dion Graham, and Mark Bramhall.

©2016 Kenneth C. Davis (P)2016 Listening Library

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A MUST READ/LISTEN

Would you listen to In the Shadow of Liberty again? Why?

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK THAT TEACHERS SHOULD USE IN A HISTORY CLASS ITS A QUICK LISTEN IT MOVES FAST PACTED WITH INFORMATION BUT JUST AS GOOD FOR YOUR LEISURE LISTENING.

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

THE NARRATION WAS SPOT ON I RECOGNIZE SOME OF THE NARRATORS THESE PARTICULAR NARRATORS WERE PERFECT FOR THERE PARTS.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

HOW IT IS PUZZLING THAT WHEN SOME OF THE SLAVES HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAVE THE CONDITION (SLAVERY) THEY CHOSE TO STAY WITH THE PRESIDENT/PLANTER/SLAVE MASTER

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Powerful

I enjoyed this book and the history that it provides to the white washed history of America. I grew up as a historical scholar I knew American history as well as my other white classmates. During my sophomore year in high school my school district in Georgia started having black history courses. I rushed to sign up to test my knowledge with other classmates. After the first day I found out how ignorant I was about my own history and how it was a major part of American history. From that point I've read and studied about African American history to buli

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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You're left wanting more, but there isn't any.

What made the experience of listening to In the Shadow of Liberty the most enjoyable?

I particularly loved how some of the major events were described in different chapters and from different perspectives. This was a smart move on the author's part because it helped to flesh the incomplete account of these people's lives. It also helped to place these people into the larger narrative of American history.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Shadow of Liberty?

The story about George Washington's personal servant and the story of his wife's personal servant were particularly compelling and seemed to be the most thorough. Those parts will stick with me.

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

The narrator's changed, and that was refreshing. You don't feel stuck with a certain narrator you may not enjoy. Also, it helped to give each story its own voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by what wasn't stated. These are slaves we know of because they were associated with famous men, yet we still don't know much about them. There's just something so sad slave stories that no author can convey--even in the cases where former slaves tell their own stories.

Any additional comments?

The book seemed a bit patronizing at points when giving definitions of words or concepts that most readers would know. Maybe I missed the part about it being a book written for an 8th grade history class. Also, there were a few lines and/or line reads that seemed a bit judgemental and heavy-handed. I don't necessarily want anyone to let these men off the hook for the role they played in the perpetuation of slavery, but I would much rather hear the author delve into that in a more meaningful way than just sarcastically reading a line about how Jefferson viewed his slaves as "family."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting

Good book. Never realized these great ppl existed . Glad to finally have this knowledge. Thanks

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An Inconvenient Truth of History

Where does In the Shadow of Liberty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high on the list, top 5. I have been listening to a great deal of African-American history and this book puts an interesting spin on things in the way it is told. The fact that these Presidents who were proponents of "liberty and justice for all" owned, and were surrounded by and tended to by enslaved people is astounding.

What did you like best about this story?

The dichotomy created by the experiences of the Presidents and their wives and the enslaved people who tended to them while being witnesses to history was profound.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

I can't choose one. I thought the characterizations were well-done and respectful.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not many extreme reactions. I also cry a bit during a good book and there were moments but it is fairly dry and non-judgemental in its delivery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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outstanding book

Every good. Enjoyed it much. Very informative and educational. Hope that more books will written to reveal the history of American slavery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Provocative

It is always enlightening to get clarity on a period of time that has been so romanticized. This book highlights the forgotten slaves who existed alongside the leaders of the country that are held in holy esteem. Slaves were human too, they had real stories. They didn't ask to come to America and they made a contribution to the society. This book tells it like it is....a refreshing reality check not presented in a contentious manner.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • mrsMimm
  • Portland, oregon
  • 04-07-17

Fascinating from beginning to end

Can't wait to listen to this again, interesting historical facts and to learn about what was happening behind the scenes, the writing style makes it very compelling, you just want to hear more stories, there are so many...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wow! Very eye opening

I thought this book was great! Very enlightening of the time when slavery was commonly accepted. I certainly came across some topics in this book that I'd like to dive deeper into.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great history narrated.

Made me feel like I was there. Very enlightening. Great history lesson. Learned so much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful