Mary Kay Ricks' Escape on the Pearl is a fascinating look at an amazing time in history, at an astonishing time of change. If you are interested in American History, or political action against all odds, or the strength of the human spirit against soul-crushing injustice, you'll enjoy this outstanding book! This is a book about the way political events and slavery affected every facet of everyday people's lives, and how some people (whites and blacks) had admirable courage and strength to fight for what they knew was right despite the law of the land. . The book is populated by the citizens and slaves of Washington: educated and cultivated slaves and farmworker slaves, Abolitionists, slaveowners, Quakers, Freemen, famous statesmen and political hacks, the ignorant, the greedy, the noble and the ignomious, the powerful and the powerless: all in the maelstrom of Washington DC in the decade before the Civil War. Mary Kay Ricks, through meticulous documentation, gives them faces, names, hopes, dreams, loves, and losses: they become real people, and brave, admirable people. (Just an example: the many attempts at escapes from slavery are inventive and inspiring but fraught with danger-- passing as a Jamaican businessman, dressing as a boy, kidnapping, bribery, doublecrossing, and more). With letters, photos, descriptions of torments of daily life as a slave, the battle in the courts and in the Congress, and the enormous obstacles to freedom, Mary Kay Ricks brings this era to life. A wonderful read! Highly recommended!