Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Excellently laid out and graphically told
on March 7, 1999
There can be no more powerful telling of the history of slavery in the United States than to read it and hear it from the slaves' own mouths. Their recollections are, for the most part, graphic and chilling, but the diversity of these life experiences are also rich with good stories, too....slaves bonding together, looking out for one another and at times outwitting their masters and overseers. While the general knowledge of salvery has been known to many Americans for years, it is the actual detailed accounts of day-to-day life that make this book come alive. I hadn't known, for instance, that slaves were required to have passes in order to travel off the plantations or that Christmas and New Year's were largely times of rejoicing for both slave families and their master's families. Yet for the rest of the year the hardships and conditions that most slaves witnessed was incredible....beatings often for no reason, no shoes or lack of other clothing during the winter cold and often not nearly enough food. The clarity with which these former slaves recall their life 80 years or more before is an indication of how etched in their young minds life had been. The accompanying audio cassettes were the main reason l bought the book and they simply added a human dimension to the whole story. l had only two small disappointments with the audio segment....l would rather have had none of the actors read the transcripts...(the actual slave voices are far more powerful) and l wish that photos of the slave speakers could have been provided.... while there were many photos of the former slaves in the book they were not the photos of the slaves who made the audio tapes. In a time where revisionist history seems to be the rage it is, in a strange way, rather comforting to hear these stories told by the people who lived them. How these men and women suffered under bondage and lived for so many years afterward to finally tell about it is a tribute to their spirit and courage.