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Though the Underground Railroad is one of the touchstones of American collective memory, there's been no comprehensive, accessible history of the secret movement that delivered more than 100,000 runaway slaves to freedom in the Northern states and Canada. Journalist Bordewich (Killing the White Man's Indian) fills this gap with a clear, utterly compelling survey of the Railroad from its earliest days in Revolution-era America through the Civil War and the extension of the vote to African Americans in 1870. Using an impressive array of archival and contemporary sources (letters, autobiographies, tax records and slave narratives, as well as new scholarship), Bordewich reveals the Railroad to be much more complicated--and much more remarkable--than is usually understood. As a progressive movement that integrated people across races and was underwritten by secular political theories but carried out by fervently religious citizens in the midst of a national spiritual awakening, the clandestine network was among the most fascinatingly diverse groups ever to unite behind a common American cause. What makes Bordewich's work transcend the confines of detached social history is his emphasis on the real lives and stories of the Railroad's participants. Religious extremists, left-wing radicals and virulent racists all emerge as fully realized characters, flawed but determined people doing what they believed was right, and every chapter has at least one moment--a detail, a vignette, a description--that will transport readers to the world Bordewich describes. The men and women of this remarkable account will remain with readers for a long time to come. Illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the first years of the nineteenth century, most runaway slaves didn't get very far: "Slave holders sought to impress their slaves with a belief in the boundlessness of slave territory," Frederick Douglass wrote, and, given the reach of fugitive slave laws, "the real distance was great enough." Those who did make it almost always had the help of Quakers, free blacks, and other opponents of slavery, who composed what Bordewich calls a "national geography of freedom." This engrossing account of the Underground Railroad describes how scattered "experimental, impulsive" acts (for instance, defending a fugitive from a patrol) became an organized operation involving thousands of stationmasters, conductors, and spies. Some of the less known, and more remarkable, stories here involve the black workers on the Railroad, such as Arnold Gragston, who, while remaining a slave, ferried hundreds of runaways across the Ohio River until 1863, when he became his own last passenger.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Although, perhaps too full of details in the beginning, this book revealed many stories of the Civil War not often told. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Marjorie E. Bryan
Bound for Canaan is a remarkable history of the Underground Railroad. Those involved in the railroad tended not to keep written records of their activities, but the author does an... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ken Wenger
A nice read, very informative. I needed it for a history class, but I enjoyed reading it & will make it apart of my home libraryPublished 1 month ago by Angela Johnson
If you are interested in truth about the Underground RR then this is the book for youPublished 2 months ago by jacqueline felix
I was extremely moved by this book and highly recommend it to anyone who cares about freedom and equality.Published 3 months ago by Timothy J. Kelly
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