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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Five-Carat Soul, and Kill 'Em and Leave, a James Brown biography. 

In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate. 

Filled with rich, true details - much of the story is drawn from historical events - and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness. 

©2008 James McBride (P)2008 Penguin

Critic Reviews

"McBride...can deliver the cauterizing power of anger without the corrosive effects of bitterness.... It just might turn out to be balm for a wound that has so far stubbornly refused to heal." (The New York Times)

"Gripping, affecting, and beautifully paced, Song Yet Sung illuminates, in the most dramatic fashion, a deeply troubled, vastly complicated moment in American history." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Powerful...A complex, ever-tightening, increasingly suspenseful web." (The Washington Post Book World)

What listeners say about Song Yet Sung

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding

I couldn't stop listening to this book! Leslie Uggams does such a great job narrating, that I felt I was right there in the story. The music was a good choice also. I was a little disappointed in the way it ended, but all-in-all it is a thoughtful, well written and well read book.

9 people found this helpful

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Redemption

I redeemed myself with the book club girls. I'd recommended a couple of duds. Everyone liked this one! It felt like a spy novel or a thriller. So much insight into the covert, "intelligence" that was going on within the slave community! It was a page turner

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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"Page turner" or better yet Thought turner lol

Mcbride has done it again, this story is thought provoking & historical with fictional truth involved. This is my second book of his I listened to and I enjoyed it greatly.

1 person found this helpful

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Very Resourceful

They were prevented from keeping the language of their homeland, kept from reading under the promise of maiming or death, they were beaten, tortured, made to work for no wages and could not enjoy the bounty of this country they built but yet they found a way to outsmart their captors, and in some instances their terrorists! Very Resourceful people then.

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Great story-telling all around

Leslie Uggams brings James McBride’s words to life in this mesmerizing tale. I could not stop listening once the story began.

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Well done........AGAIN

Mr McBride always gives us stories, not just narrative. His words are so well chosen that in the telling of one story I experienced both the horror of the time & the amazing ability of a group of people to rise above & survive that horror.

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Brave advance in story telling

I absolutely admire James McBride having the courage to unravel embarrassing US history, except for rocky outcropping below Cambridge MD the story was right on history and park in the driveway awaiting the end of the chapter excellent!

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Beautiful and gripping

Fantastic nuanced depiction of slave era Maryland and fantastic narration that brings you right into the action.

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Profound

Written with intense direction and focus, Song Yet Sung is a great inspirational read. I highly recommend it.

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Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Undoubtedly, this story will make a great movie sometime soon. And I'll be excited to see it. This is a great story. It's a slave story that enables black folks to find pride in a history marred with terror