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Days Of Jubilee Hardcover – Unabridged, February 1, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-In this readable, well-organized book, the McKissacks make extensive use of firsthand slave narratives collected in the 1930s. As well as documenting the gradual end of slavery, they discuss many other historic events and controversies, using the viewpoints recorded in Southerner Mary Chestnut's Civil War diary and other primary sources. Brief descriptions of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the unequal treatment of African Americans by whites in both the North and the South after slavery ended, and the progress made by the civil rights movement are included. A sidebar erroneously states that "-a slave ship-docked in Mobile Harbor at night on July 9, 1866.-Fowler couldn't sell the slaves, so when the Civil War began, he set the captives free." The book is illustrated with many historical duotone photographs and engravings, but there is no map showing the battles described in the text. Readers familiar with Civil War history will be fascinated by the wealth of information on African Americans' contributions to the war effort, but those researching only the end of slavery may feel overwhelmed by tangential accounts of battles and military leaders. A useful resource for most collections.
Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. As this book clearly shows, there was no single day when slavery ended in the U.S. but a series of dates when groups and individual slaves celebrated their own "days of Jubilee." The discussion begins after the Revolutionary War, when many of the African Americans who had fought were freed, but it quickly moves on to the Civil War era. Each chapter begins with a quotation from a historical document, followed by a boxed story that tells, for example, of a slave family escaping to the Union army or a Boston church congregation receiving word that Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The quotations are sourced (though often identified only as "slave Narrative"), but no source notes are given for the boxed narratives, which occasionally seem lightly fictionalized. The McKissacks do a remarkable job of explaining Civil War history as it relates to the end of slavery, and their lively account presents the war and its consequences in very human terms. For instance, it relates that in New York when, for the first time in history, photographs of the dead and dying soldiers on a battlefield went on display, "people cried out in horror." The balanced perspective, vivid telling, and well-chosen details give this book an immediacy that many history books lack. Illustrations include reproductions of many period photographs as well as paintings, prints, and documents, and a time line and a bibliography are appended. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting with information related to blacks' roles during the American Revolution and working chronologically through December of 1865, this book presents the story of the end of slavery as seen through the eyes of so many concerned parties. The narratives of slaves are abundant, but the diary entries, narratives, and letters of Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers, mothers, fathers, generals, presidents, politicians' wives and newspaper reporters are all included.
The major battles of the Civil War and explanations of war strategies are discussed in fascinating detail. (Honestly--This is the first time I've ever enjoyed learning about a war.) Generals Grant and Lee are both given a voice, and the story of the assassination of the President is told in stunning specificity. Readers will learn about the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, of blacks' insistence in fighting for the cause in which they believed, and what happened unexpectedly to slaves immediately following their release from slavery.
In elementary school, students often learn about the Civil War in terms of the loving, kind Abraham Lincoln and the open-minded Union Army that paraded into the South to save the slaves from their terrible lives. This book, mainly because of its inclusion of primary document information, provides a more honest and yet even more so captivating story of what really happened in those five years while slavery was coming to an end.
Readers will attach to many of the characters in this book, including the senator's wife Mary Chestnut who writes of her fears of losing the war and her slaves, and Elizabeth Keckley, and African American woman who became the seamstress to Mrs. Lincoln.
The black/white and sepia photos of the men, women, events, and surroundings of the 1800's greatly enhance the story.
This book is truly stunning and includes great, detailed information in a writing style that appeals to the young reader.
I don't normally read non-fiction for fun, but this was a worthwhile read, and we can still learn many lessons about tolerance and attitudes about racism today.