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The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Written by Himself
Narrated by: Richard Allen
Length: 21 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (242 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass was Douglass' third autobiography. In it, he was able to go into greater detail about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery, as he and his family were no longer in any danger from the reception of his work.

In this engrossing narrative, he recounts early years of abuse; his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom, abolitionist campaigns, and his crusade for full civil rights for former slaves. It is also the only of Douglass' autobiographies to discuss his life during and after the Civil War, including his encounters with American Presidents such as Lincoln, Grant, and Garfield.

Public Domain (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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Excellent in so many ways...

... not the least of which was that a few times I caught myself wondering "how did they get such a good recording of Douglass?" Many, many pats on the back to Mr. Allen.

I've held Douglass as a hero for many years even without knowing the fullest details of his story. Knowing them now, I'd say first that it was WELL worth the 21 hours of listening to find them out, and second that it only builds my respect for one of our country's great heroes. Any student of American history should invest themselves in this audiobook.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • JA
  • 04-05-17

An Inspired Reading of a Fantastic Story

Where does The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to several excellent audio books. This one ranks among the best.

Which character – as performed by Richard Allen – was your favorite?

Richard Allen does an exemplary job of portraying every character in the book. His reading of the words of Frederick Douglass himself do justice to the articulate, insightful, and forceful gentleman that was Frederick Douglass.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The book is far too long to listen to in one sitting, and I must admit that there are a few sections, particularly in the several speeches Douglas chose to insert towards the end of the book, where the author gets somewhat wordy, but I found the vast majority of the story wonderfully engaging.

Any additional comments?

This is almost as much a history book as it is an autobiography. In addition to the insight into Douglass' life and character, I also found fascinating Douglass' encounters with many other important historical figures, including several Presidents of the United States, Senators, foreign dignitaries, and abolitionist leaders.

We also experience the stories of slavery, that lead to its downfall, and gain a unique perspective on reconstruction and beyond, as seen through the eyes of an eminent, African American leader.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

This is the most extensive version of his bio. Narration is spot on. For a greater understanding of the problematic aspects of Lincoln from a sympathetic perspective - the Honorable Douglas provides some valuable narrative of his relationship and understanding of Lincoln and John Brown that we can learn a lot from.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The history of a self-made man against all odds

What did you like best about this story?

The point of view of Frederic Douglass, a slave, a hated man, is without a doubt one of the most detailed and hart fell narrative of a system that not only destroyed the life of countless families, but almost destroyed america. And gave way to the segregation system. More then anything else The life of Fredrick is a story of hard work, determination, and the courage to fight for that that is rightfully your, your own life, and liberty.

Have you listened to any of Richard Allen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Richard Allen's voice is just fantastic.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic book, good reader (with qualifications)

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass?

For me the most memorable moments were two: his betrayal at the time of his first plan to escape from slavery, and description of John Brown and their connection to one another.

What three words best describe Richard Allen’s performance?

Voice, deep and resonant, as one imagines Douglass would have sounded. The performance by the narrator, however, was somewhat too theatrical, round, and sing-songy for my taste. It was as if the book was being performed for a theater audience instead of being more modestly inflected as Douglass would have spoken it himself.

Any additional comments?

The story of Frederick Douglass's rise from slavery to world renown -- the 19th Century MLK -- is amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Life and Times of Slavery

Fredrick Douglass was an amazing man. This story is really a series of political essays about slavery with his life as the thread which holds them together. I would have liked to hear about his wife and family. He barely mentions them. The later part of the book seems to be Douglass defending himself regards John Brown, Freeman Bank and other issues. The narrator was excellent. Very easy to understand.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A Fascinating Prophetic Must Read

As the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Should be required reading to graduate from HS.

https://www.combatingpoliticalcivicilliteracy.com/

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The First!

This should, undoubtedly be the first book that Americans of all color distinctions should read. A truly amazing life, stories and triumphs along with resistance from the few who perceived their arrogance granted them rights and privileges. We tend to forget about heroes such as the Honorable Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ross-Tubman and others who persevered for respectability and equality. Salute!

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Awesome, amazing and inspiring!!!

This should be required reading in all American schools. Every Black American needs to read this!

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Wonderful!

This is a wonderful narration and fascinating man. Loved this!!! I highly recommend this book.

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  • jjm
  • 08-20-18

a great view into one of America's greatest sons

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Douglass' own words on such an amazing life. from his deprived youth to his fight with his master, to his flight to freedom and later honours, this story is unparallelled. it becomes a bit longwinded toward the end, and throughout tends to reference names we moderns do not recognise. otherwise this is a fantastic read and the voice actor is superb, displaying not only a great speaking voice but also a great ability to sing!

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  • Splash
  • 03-22-17

incredible

an incredible man with an incredible story, so beautifully written that I couldn't hope to do him justice in my own words. if you haven't yet read this, waste no more time. enjoy

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 05-23-15

Strangely voiced reading

For some reason this book is read in an odd and irritating voice. Sounds most peculiar and I couldnt get used to it. Perhaps Douglass sounded like this. Who knows? Shame as I dont doubt its an important and most revealing view of his times.