Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave Born into a life of bondage Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write It was a crime punishable by death but as a result we possess one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery

  • Title: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave
  • Author: Frederick Douglass Peter J. Gomes William Lloyd Garrison Wendell Phillips
  • ISBN: 9780451526731
  • Page: 462
  • Format: Paperback
  • Born into a life of bondage, Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write It was a crime punishable by death, but as a result we possess one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded His gripping narrative takes us into the fields, cabins, and manors of the pre Civil War plantations in the South and reveals the daily terrors he suffered asBorn into a life of bondage, Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write It was a crime punishable by death, but as a result we possess one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded His gripping narrative takes us into the fields, cabins, and manors of the pre Civil War plantations in the South and reveals the daily terrors he suffered as a slave.Written than a century ago by this African American who went on to become a famous orator, U.S minister to Haiti, and a leader of his people, this timeless classic still speaks directly to our age It is a record of savagery and inhumanity that goes far to explain why America still suffers from the great injustices of the past.Cover art CORBIS BETTMANNDescription from back cover

    One thought on “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave”

    1. Thank you Mr. Douglass…this was a life changer for me. You are a true American hero and the fact that there are not more monuments, government buildings, holidays or other commemorations of your life seems to me an oversight of epic proportions. How often is it that you can honestly say that you’ll never be the same after reading a book? Well, this life story of a singular individual has changed mevocably. I will never be able to sufficiently express my gratitude to Mr. Douglass for that ext [...]

    2. I love the review on here that says, "This book was kind of hard to get into because of the high level words used in this book." In the year 2012 a grown adult/product of the USA's educational system finds the vocabulary of a self-taught 19th century slave beyond their comprehension, ahahahahahahaha God Bless America.

    3. "Once you learn to read you will forever be free" This is powerful, so, so powerful. This is a remarkable achievement considering it is written in such a straight forward manner by a man who taught himself to read. There is no embellishment or dramatic imagery here; it is simple, straightforward, harrowing, fact. It is such a strong narrative that I’m extremely glad I read. I recommend it to everyone. Moreover, to emphasise the sheer depravity, and brutality, these slaves were subjected to, th [...]

    4. This book is not an important historical document to be placed in a glass case and venerated during Black History Month. It should be read by all, regardless of race or creed, as a warning against prejudice and oppression.Douglass' description of the cruel conditions of slavery is mind-searing. His analysis of the system which fostered and condoned it shows amazing depth. He shows that slavery made wretched the lives of the victims but that it also warped the perpetrators, and created a regime i [...]

    5. Powerful, eloquent and utterly moving, especially considering it was written by a man who taught himself how to read and write while a slave. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass regrettably does not go into detail regarding the particulars of Douglass' escape to freedom. Having written his memoirs while slavery was still ongoing, he was afraid to reveal his methods for fear of endangering the lives of those who assisted him, as well as potentially shutting down an avenue of escape fo [...]

    6. "…My copybook was the board-fence, brick wall, and pavement; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk. With these, I learned mainly how to write."As with Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, I feel as though I should start by reiterating these simple truths about the narrative: Yes, Douglass did write this book himself; No, he was not against Christianity, only a staunch opponent of hypocritical Christians; No, he did not promote hatred of man - his hate was of slavery. The hearth is desolate. The [...]

    7. Book ReviewI first read the biographical introduction about Frederick Douglass and learned many new things. I knew he wrote a few autobiographies, but I never knew that he spanned them over 40 years of writing and that he lived for close to 80 years. I then read both the preface by Garrison and the letter to Douglas. They were excellent introductions to the narrative by Frederick Douglass. They set the mood and get you ready to experience a whole new set of emotions when you read Douglass’ Lif [...]

    8. I am familiar with Frederick Douglass' life, and I'm sure I've read this but can't find it on my booklist *sigh*. Nonetheless he was such a magnificent man that it bears rereading.What I like more about Douglass than anything else at all is his clear thinking on subject peoples.He saw that the discrimination against blacks and women was from an identical stance. That white men were imposing a structure of equality and entitlement that placed them at the top, and everyone else beneath them. This [...]

    9. "ليس مُهمٍّا تحت أي اصطلاح مزيّف تتستّر العبودية، فإنها لا تزال بشعة وبها ميل طبيعي حتى للعصف بكل مَلَكة نبيلة عند الإنسان."-دانيال أوكونيللم ولن أفهم أو أستوعب كيف يمكن لإنسان أن يقوم باستعباد وإذلال إنسان آخر، لا لشيء سوى أنه مختلف عنه باللون أو بالعِرق أو بالدين أو باللغة! [...]

    10. What a powerful piece of writing this is. Slavery is such an ugly part of American history, and this narrative tells all of the ordeals that Frederick Douglass had to overcome, including whippings, beatings, hunger, tyrannical masters, backbreaking labor, and horrible living conditions. Douglass was born in Maryland in 1818, but even that year is a guess because slaves were generally not allowed to know their birthdate. He knew little of his mother because the master sent her away, and then she [...]

    11. 4.5/5Unlike many on this site, if one may judge from the reviews and most popular tags of this work, I did not encounter this in school. This is unfortunate, as exposure to this at a younger age may have made my frame of references less solidified, Moby Dick over here and slavery narratives of there and all the usual sorts of aborted cross-reference and false literary linearity. These days, I am not as suspect to being fenced in by required reading in academia, but there are some still some sick [...]

    12. This is a very brief first volume of a three volume autobiography. It is moving, powerful and horrific portrait of slavery in one of the so-called more humane slave states in the 1820s and 1830s. It is an important historical document, but is also much more than that; published in 1845 it opened a window for the general public in the north who knew little about the inner workings of slavery. Douglass does not know his birthday, who his father was and was separated from his mother very early in l [...]

    13. Houston A Baker Jr introduces Douglass' narrative by positioning it within a rich tradition in two senses. Firstly, many former slaves published accounts of their experiences - a fact that I was not aware of and that Baker says has been poorly acknowledged, while the work of white abolitionists has been much-celebrated. Secondly, the literary interests of the period, absorbed by Douglass in his forbidden, covert, voracious reading, are expressed through the lyrical and dramatic qualities of his [...]

    14. This is one of the most amazing pieces of writing I have ever read. Unfortunately, I grew up in Texas--a fact for which I have only recently forgiven my parents, with difficulty--and therefore was never forced to read anything more incendiary than To Kill a Mocking Bird or Uncle Tom's Cabin. Digression: Also, I had a creationist biology teacher. But yes. We didn't read any firsthand slave narratives. I don't even remember learning about the civil rights movements. Maybe we did. All of this jibba [...]

    15. Not bad for a guy who taught himself to write while his masters weren't looking. Even the smallest knowledge of Douglass' post-slave life makes you wonder at the title: Who would have the gall to chain him up, of all men? The facts of slavery are still frightening after all this time. What makes it scarier is that Douglass was in Maryland, the Northernmost of southern states. Evidentally, the farther south you were the worse it was, so if this happened in Maryland, I don't like to think about Lo [...]

    16. Very short & to the point, Douglass paints the picture of being a slave better than any other book I've read on the subject. His first hand account blows away 'Roots' or even the 'Confessions of Nat Turner' with its simple, understated prose. Huge thanks to Nancy, a friend here on GR, that recommended & gave me the book.Why would a man remain in slavery when there was any chance of escape? This is a question I've always wondered about. He tells us. The courage & determination that it [...]

    17. I've read this book several times but especially enjoyed re-reading it with my son as we study this era in American history. It's a great narrative for anyone who wants to get a sense of the history and injustice of slavery from a slave's perspective.

    18. "Reader! are you with the man-stealers in sympathy and purpose, or on the side of their down-trodden victims? If with the former, then are you the foe of God and man. If with the latter, what are you prepared to do and dare in their behalf? Be faithful, be vigilant, be untiring in your efforts to break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free." - from the Preface by William Lloyd Garrison. This autobiography is easily the most well-known and taught of any slave narrative in the United States. I [...]

    19. My history professor assigned 4 books to read over the semester. I found the first 2 to be really boring, I did not enjoy them at all. Probably it had to do with the fact that my subconscious tends to hate everything that I'm forced to do. Like for example, if I'm not allowed to be absent from a class more than 3 times during the semester without failing it, I hate going, and feel the pressure everyday of having to drag myself to go to that particular class. On the contrary, if the teacher didn' [...]

    20. Candid, brutal, and entrancingly descriptive. This book is an absolute must for anyone seeking a better understanding of the “institution” of slavery in America.Douglass' prose is the literary equivalent of a velvet-sheathed hammer—smoothly elegant, yet incredibly powerful. He had a real gift for drawing analogies and eliciting deeper comprehension. This very personal account is difficult to ingest, but even more difficult to put down.It’s somewhat tempting to compare Douglass’ narrati [...]

    21. An American Classic4.5 hoursNarrated by Jonathan ReesePublished by Tantor MediaFrederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies during his life. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave, written in 1845, is, perhaps, the most famous. The others were My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881, revised 1892).Written as a response to those that doubted that such an intelligent and well-spoken man could have ever been a slave, Narrative tells a [...]

    22. I became interested in Frederick Douglass in high school, for the most shallow of reasons: I saw his picture in my history book and thought he was awfully cute.Since then, he's popped up here and there throughout my life and whatever I learn about him is fascinating. This narrative is no different, he seems to have been an inspiring, strong, thoughtful, analytical person.It's time I start reading more of his work.

    23. This book is an excellent and inspiring book, one cannot praise it too much; however as an objective and unbiased reader one wonders how much of this story is exaggerated to make Douglass' point about the horrors of slavery.

    24. “…my long crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact. I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the white man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also succeed in killing me…” -- Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American SlaveI went into the B&N bookstore to escape the hot Atlanta sun, and while browsin [...]

    25. I know that most members probably have their minds made up about slavery by now, but I had forgotten until recently what a remarkable piece of literature this is:"On the one hand, there stood slavery, a stern reality,glaring frightfully upon us,- its robes already crimsonedwith the blood of millions, and even now feasting itselfgreedily upon our own flesh. On the other hand,away back in the dim distance, under the flickering light of the north star, behind some craggy hill or snow-covered mount [...]

    26. This summer while talking among friends I had the realization that I have read almost no african american literature. I knew I had deficiencies in female authors and have been trying to balance things out better this year. How is it that I can think of myself as well read with these two (and who knows how many more) weak spots?So I decided to start near the beginning with Frederick Douglass and I am glad I did as it was a fairly eye opening look into the life of a slave. I think we all get the g [...]

    27. This was a fascinating true story that kept me enthralled from start to finish. I could go right back to the beginning and read it all through over again with superlative ease.6 stars

    28. Do yourself a favor and read this book. It’s only 128 pages, and it’s one of the most powerful and important works of American literature that you’ve probably never read. It was very instrumental in the abolitionist movement that eventually led to the US Civil War and the eradication of slavery. It should be required high school reading even though it’s harsh, violent, and contains coarse language--really BECAUSE it’s harsh, violent, and contains coarse language. Sometimes history need [...]

    29. I found this book, though historic, to be a modern marvel. I find not only the man himself but even more so the writings of Frederick Douglass to be totally FASCINATING! This man's ability to describe the various monstrosities encountered throughout his journey in such a beautiful, articulate, and eloquent way is utterly GENIUS! In reading this timeless masterpiece I discovered that this man bears the unmatched, undisputed spirit of a champion; the undying essence of a true warrior; that I'm sur [...]

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