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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown (April 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613822928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613822920
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (737 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897) was an American writer, who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs' single work, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 under the pseudonym "Linda Brent", was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured. The narrative was designed to appeal to middle class white Christian women in the North, focusing on the impact of slavery on women's chastity and sexual virtues. Christian women could perceive how slavery was a temptation to masculine lusts and vice as well as to womanly virtues. Jacobs criticized the religion of the Southern United States as being un-Christian and as emphasizing the value of money ("If I am going to hell, bury my money with me," says a particularly brutal and uneducated slaveholder). She described another slaveholder with, "He boasted the name and standing of a Christian, though Satan never had a truer follower." Jacobs argued that these men were not exceptions to the general rule. Much of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was devoted to the Jacobs's struggle to free her two children after she escaped. Before that, Harriet spent seven years hiding in a tiny space built into her grandmother's barn to see and hear the voices of her children. Jacobs changed the names of all characters in the novel, including her own, to conceal their true identities. The villainous slave owner "Dr. Flint" was based on Jacobs's former master, Dr. James Norcom. Despite the publisher's documents of authenticity, some critics attacked the narrative as based on false accounts. There was a reaction against the more horrific details of slave narratives, and some readers believed they could not be true.

Customer Reviews

Beautifully written heart rending true story of the life of a slave woman.
Cakes
It really made me think about slavery and I questioned it a lot while reading this book.
madley
I would recommend this book if you are interested in the history of slaves in America.
tuxfig

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pcm on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am glad I decided to read this book. I never realized how truly terrible slavery was until I read this book. We get some knowledge in school but not the intensity. This should be read as part of history.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kim on October 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an Australian I have a small to moderate amount of knowledge of what really happened to people trapped into slavery by monstrous "religious" people who called themselves doctors, senators, pillars of the community etc

I came across Harriet's book by accident and it has driven a new interest in me to read more about the slave trade.
This book left me so angry at my fellow human beings and especially at those who didn't stand up for others which is a pet hate of mine.

I recommend this book to everyone, it is an unfortunate part of a not so distant past that we can't deny or forget, nor can our words of 'sorry' make ant difference to anyone who suffered from this atrocious period of life for any colored people.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Donna Di Giacomo VINE VOICE on September 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
that slavery was such an integral part of the creation of the United States (even being protected by the Constitution for 20 years as a concession to the slave states - just so they would join the Union). Yeah, yeah, other civilizations had slaves, but Rome's heyday was almost 2,000 years before anyone knew or cared about land on this side of the globe. (Portugal, Spain, and England would take encyclopedias just to scratch the surface of and were the ones who ran with the idea that Africa was ripe for using human beings as cattle, with just a "little" help from the local tribal chiefs). So much for "progress" and learning from the past.

It's obvious that Harriet Jacobs did a very brave thing for her time and did a major favor for us here in the future: She not only told her story (like other former slaves) in order to put an end to the sin of slavery, but she gave detail to the suffering and humiliation slaves had to face every single day of their lives. She added another angle with her account of the sexual harassment she had to face from Dr. Norcum almost daily, and she wrote about other female slaves who had to endure his advances - and then be sold away when they bore his children.

It wasn't bad enough for female slaves to be subjected to sexual advances at such a young age by their masters/owners, but adding insult to injury was that they had to deal with the jealousy of their mistress (as if it was their fault their husbands were pigs). And, to add further stress, was the constant threat that their children (whether legitimate or illegitimate) could be sold at any time.

This whole book was an eye-opener for me, but one of the many parts that I found fascinating was when Harriet came to Philadelphia and heard church bells the first time here.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Angela Darden on February 2, 2014
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Great book read about slavery through a former slaves eyes and the cruelty they had to endured...very good book loved it
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sandra ziak on January 31, 2014
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I would definitely recommend this book, it is really well written and the story was very interesting, I stayed up late several nights reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Davis on June 27, 2013
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Some of the incidents described in this story are hard to imagine, but the descriptions are so compelling that that I have to accept that they are true. A truly remarkable story of a horrible time on America's past.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nora Finner on June 27, 2013
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A true story. I cried several times while reading this book. The sacrifices, deceit, the cruelties they endured and the love that was as strong as the hate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laurene Simms on October 20, 2012
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Any one whose  primary view of slavery is from Gone With The Wind should read this book.   The author does a great job of  illustrating the physical and emotional devastation of  being considered by law to be owned by another person.
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