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Prince among Slaves: The True Story of an African Prince Sold Into Slavery in the American South 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195042238
ISBN-10: 0195042239
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Alford writes with a straightforward simplicity that nonetheless takes account of all sorts of complexities, including racial attitudes in this country at that time, and class attitudes as well."--The New Yorker


"Vividly re-creates a life as dramatic as a work of fiction."--Booklist


"Absorbing reading....The succession of events surrounding [the prince's] enslavement and emancipation almost defy belief."--Library Journal


"The story moves along with the excitement, pace, and emotion of a well-paced novel."--Best Sellers


"An exceptional study. A much needed introduction to Africans as real people during the slavery era....Prince Among Slaves affirms the African heritage of Afro-Americans."--Stephen Middleton, University of Cincinnati


About the Author

Terry Alford is at au.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (December 4, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195042239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195042238
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Munir on September 8, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
According to the reviews on the back cover, Alford's book "vividly re-creates a life as dramatic as a work of fiction...events...almost defy belief." I'd tend to agree. This remarkably detailed book narrates the life of Ibrahima, a Fulani prince captured at the age of 26 and enslaved in the USA for 40 years, during which he lost neither his Muslim faith nor his dignity- both of which finally led to his freedom. The details surrounding those events are incredible and sometimes even mystical. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this book was its contrast of the literate, cosmopolitan culture of Futa Jalon, Ibrahima's homeland, and the illiterate, racist, and often homicidal nature of the whites of Natchez.
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Terry Alford is a very brilliant man for his insights and facts to uncover Abd Rahman Ibrahima's life. If written without strong and factual information an attempt to publish an account of his life would be useless. The author did Ibrahima great justice in taking note that it would be very important in making this man's place in history known. In the book the author overwhealms the reader with facts that cast away any doubts the reader may have about the authenticity of this book. Alford deserves highest regards for having the patience and faith to document the life of such an extraordinary person.
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This is an extraordinary true story of a Black Muslim captured and sold into slavery in 1788 in Africa. He was the 26 year old son of a tribal king, married, with a young son. In addition to his native language, Pular, he read and wrote Arabic as well as other African languges. He was sold to a plantation owner near Natchez, which was part of Spanish territory in that time. After 40 years of slavery he gained his freedom and was able to return to Africa, where he lived briefly until his death.

The book is exceptionally well resesearched and told with sensitivity. It demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit in times of great depravation.
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I was required to read this book for a college course I'm taking. All-in-all, the story of Ibrahima should be told. What bothers me about this book is the lack of information on Ibrahima himself during his slave years. I'm not sure if that is because the lack of information during this time period. There's is a lot of information concerning others who had been involved in Ibrahima's life (directly or indirectly), but in my opinion is excessive. Not sure if this was filler because the author believed his story should be told. After Ibrahima's freedom was granted and the government believed his story was important, (prior to the trip back to Africa) they toured the colonies in what I perceive as a "dog & pony" show because it was an election year. If the government truly believed Ibrahima's story was a phenomenal (which it was) I would think they would've had someone interview him to document his life's story. Based on my readings, this is not the case. It's worth the read because not many know the story of Ibrahima. In comparison, think of this book like the movie 12 Years a Slave. In stead of 12 years, it's 41 years a slave.
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Just finished this book. Absolutely recommend it to any and all even slightly interested in an adventurous life of a prince, slavery in the south, the Colonization Society, Henry Clay (and J.Q. Adams), or American History. The author really knows how to weave a story and characters so alive that makes you sad to part with them when it's over.

Although it has been adapted into a documentary, I can't help but feel that this deserves SPIELBERG treatment. The journey is so epic, the drama so moving and consequential... Ibrahima lives from the pages of this book.

Buy it.
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I enjoyed this, but I have a particular interest in the topic. The book is not your typical easy read but it is very well researched. Tons of background information about 18th and 19th century west Africa that I had never really considered before. I learned a lot, enough to want more. And that is why we read, isn't it?
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This is a valuable work that should be read to discover the life of a Muslim during the time of slavery since most slave narratives do not mention Islam even when 10 to 15 percent of slaves here were of Muslim origin.

By the way, Karim Abdul Jabbar became Muslim at the hands of Khalifah Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, founder of the D.C. based Hanafi Madh-hab, around 1970. The venerable Sufi and Black Muslim leader wrote the work "Look and See" that will soon be released on Magribine Press. If someone makes claims that a work made someone become Muslims, or some other such claim, they should give references.
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