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The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass was Douglass' third autobiography. In it he was able to go into greater detail about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery, as he and his family were no longer in any danger from the reception of his work. It is also the only of Douglass' autobiographies to discuss his life during and after the Civil War, including his encThe Life and Times of Frederick Douglass was Douglass' third autobiography. In it he was able to go into greater detail about his life as a slave and his escape from slavery, as he and his family were no longer in any danger from the reception of his work. It is also the only of Douglass' autobiographies to discuss his life during and after the Civil War, including his encounters with American Presidents such as Lincoln, Grant, and Garfield...

Title : Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
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ISBN : 9496562
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 562 Pages
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Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Reviews

  • John Gurney
    2019-04-09 16:02

    Considering the slave Frederick Douglass was never allowed to set foot in a school, the exact and proper prose in this incredible story demonstrates the depth of his self-education. He learned to read on the sly, having been (illegally) taught the alphabet by a kindly master's wife. Douglass's story includes more 'humane' masters as well as an incredibly cruel one. The drudgery of daily slave life and the horror of whippings come through vividly in this biography that starts in Maryland. Douglass eventually escapes, and this part of the autobiography is written with literary flourish. He arrives penniless in New York State and works his way up. In Massachusetts, he joins the abolitionist cause. In Rochester, NY, he'd publish an abolitionist newspaper. His personal experiences with prejudice, even in the north, are very interesting; Douglass was a man of great inner power who stood his ground, when most black slaves were docile by habit, reinforced by the whip. A large part of Douglass's story is his abolitionist efforts, his involvement in politics and his personal interactions with John Brown, Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison, and, especially, Abraham Lincoln. Douglass was involved in early Republican Party politics and was also an early, leading advocate of women's suffrage. His fascinating life included forays to Canada and Europe, at first to stay ahead of escaped slave catchers.This book is excellent, being a fascinating story that is well written. That it was penned by an entirely self-educated man adds to its reading pleasure. There are so many 'wow' moments herein. I strongly recommend Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

  • Robert Owen
    2019-04-11 08:15

    “The Life and Times of Fredrick Douglass” is at once a fascinating journey back to a pivotal time in American history, a chronicle of the practical indignities of American racial oppression and an enduring monument to the constancy of human dignity. Douglass was a remarkable man whose life is worthy of exploration. Born into slavery, he endured its humiliations for almost twenty years. Yet as a young man, he grew indignant over the notion that he was less than anyone else and, over time, slowly summoned the skills, resources and courage necessary for him to escape. Once free, he quickly came to the attention of abolitionists who were impressed by his obvious intelligence and ability to speak in a compelling fashion to crowds about his life in bondage. He progressed up the ranks of the abolitionist movement to become, in addition to being a popular public speaker, an owner and editor of his own newspaper. By the outbreak of the Civil War, Douglass was an internationally renowned public figure who was either loved or hated by anyone who knew of him. During the War, Douglass agitated tirelessly for the ennoblement of the war’s carnage by means of emancipating America’s slaves. Despite frustration with Lincoln’s maddening reluctance to free the slaves, Douglass nonetheless used his public presence to actively encouraged blacks to join the northern ranks and fight for their own freedom. Ultimately, Douglass became a kind of distanced confidant to Lincoln - a sort of moral voice to which Lincoln allowed himself to occasionally be exposed. As remarkable as his tremendous accomplishments were and his personal story is, what I found most interesting were the “little things” written in the margins of his narrative that help to make the abstract notion of slavery and its consequences that are so assiduously documented by historians real to the reader. For example, the details of Douglass’s description of his youth breathe life into the definition of slavery – “the permanent, violent domination of natally alienated and generally dishonored persons.” provided by Orlando Patterson in his seminal work “Slavery and Social Death”. The reality of this “natal alienation”, or disassociation with the enduring institutions of family, is made heart-wrenchingly real by his description of having been raised by his maternal grandmother until he was old enough to be put to work, at which point she walked him to the master’s plantation and left him in the care of the community of the master’s slaves. Or, as described by C. Vann Woodward in “The Strange Career of Jim Crow”, the prevalence of Jim Crow that Douglass routinely experienced in the North decades before it was systematized by law and custom in the “Redeemed” South (e.g. Jim Crow cars on trains or the difficulty he had finding hotel accommodations in cities throughout the North on his abolitionist speaking tours). What was also remarkable was the degree of compassion Douglass expressed for his oppressors. For example, Douglass was taught the rudiments of reading from his then-mistress who, being young and naïve, had been excited by the project until she was harshly reprimanded for it by her husband. After this, she grew angry with Douglass when she caught him trying to read, and became vigilant about his activities, determined that her “error” not be compounded by Douglass’s continued reading improvement. Douglass seemed to feel genuinely sorry for the woman and the way that her accepted role in the institution of slavery had reduced her from being a kind, well-meaning person into a demonstrably mean, petty human being. Slavery, Douglass rightly believed, was a moral horror to anyone involved with it, regardless of their role. Along a similar vein, Douglass frequently expressed gratitude for the “courage” of various whites he met throughout his life who, in contravention of custom, came to Douglass’s defense or treated him not as a “black man” but rather, as a “man”. Our modern sensibilities would see these acts not as expressions of courage, but rather, as manifestations of simple and rather unremarkable human decency – yet Douglass, living in his time, saw them as revolutionary acts that were worthy of praise and acknowledgement. Although the book was excellent and contributed to my understanding of America’s racial history, it’s important to note that it’s written in the prosaic style of a mid-19th century speech writer. Moreover, one has the sense of Douglass writing to future generations in order to secure his place in history and occasionally he lapses into discussions of petty controversies about which it was important to him to get his side of the story “on the record”. Sadly, these discussions have not aged well and, as someone ignorant of the details and full context of some of the controversies he discusses, I found that his discussions of them often made him appear petulant. Notwithstanding these minor deficits the book was outstanding and represents critical reading for anyone interested in American history in general, and America’s racial history, in particular.

  • Angie
    2019-04-06 09:01

    To say that I have been inspired by Frederick Douglass is an understatement. He was a man of grace, grit, integrity, intelligence, wisdom, honor, compassion, humility and tenacity. My favorite parts of the book was his conversion to Christ on page 69, the effects of slavery on his body, soul, and spirit on page 104, his friendship and influence with President Lincoln, his inspiring words to the black soldiers enlisted in the Union Army on page 329, and his reunion with his old master Captain Auld page 435. Frederick learned how to read as a young boy. His self education inspired me the most and reminded me that there is power in knowledge. An education is PRICELESS! There is no power that can restrain a person from rising above his lowly circumstances.Where are all the Frederick Douglass' in our world today. Please come forth!!!!

  • Kayli Wolber
    2019-04-19 16:12

    The Life of Frederick Douglas is a book that anyone should read. This man lived such a life of despair and struggle and is able to show gratitude to the few people in his life that helped him. He creates very detailed scenes of his experiences without using much emotion. Readers are then able to create their own emotions toward the text. Douglas doesn't need to use pathos thoughout much of his autobiography due to the brutal facts of situations he has been through. His journey out of slavery is very inspiring and captures his true character through the actions he chooses to take. I would recommend this book for anyone to read. It is a compelling story and is able to teach readers about the brutal history of slavery.

  • George
    2019-04-17 15:52

    "The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: Written by Himself" by Frederick Douglass is an outstanding autobiography of the former slave and abolitionist. Frederick Douglass is a larger-than-life figure and one of the most important leaders of the 19th Century United States. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in U.S. history or slavery. [I hope to expand this review in the future when time permits.]Rating: 5 out of 5 stars Notes: Audiobook: Narrated by: Richard Allen Length: 21 hours and 35 minutes Release Date: 2012-02-07 Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC

  • Great Book Study
    2019-03-29 09:04

    My review of Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, and a little American history: http://greatbookstudy.blogspot.com/20...

  • Crystal
    2019-04-12 12:06

    This book was utterly engrossing, even as an old audio edition. I haven't read a real page turner in awhile, but this was exactly that for me. I didn't expect a book this old to be so utterly engaging, but I found myself relating so well to Frederick Douglass--not truly understanding his struggles, obviously, but relating to the feelings behind them--his outrage at injustice and determination to better himself and others and set things right. He was so clearly passionate about the subject of slavery, even after he himself was free and successful and relatively safe. He couldn't bear that anyone could continue in that state, and this book reflects that passion beautifully. Sometimes hearing his blunt recounting of the treatment of slaves (and even simply of African-Americans) that he witnessed and/or experienced was almost unbearable, and yet I couldn't stop reading. As a Christian, hearing the way southern slave holding Christians behaved specifically almost made me ill. So utterly against the message they thought they knew. (I also loved Douglass's clarification about his views on true Christianity at the end of the book. I loved that he learned to see that they did not represent the true faith, and that he said so boldly.) He told the truth so that others would know, and could better understand why the institution of slavery (and of racism) needed to be stopped. Reading works like this helps put even more context for the works of modern-day writers I've read recently, Ta-Nehesi Coates and D. Watkins and others. I know Douglass wrote a number of books, and I'll be looking them all up to read, and soon.

  • John Doyle
    2019-03-24 15:55

    This one was a page turner for me. It is a fascinating (nearly) contemporaneous account of the decades before and after the Civil War. Frederick Douglass is a new hero for me as one of the figures in American history whose courage and conviction matched the monumental challenges of his times. The broad outlines of his story are well known but the details were entirely new to me and they were riveting. My favorite passages in the book describe Douglass' encounters with Abraham Lincoln. Also fun to read Douglass' reflections on his emotional experience and feelings of "now what do I do with myself?!" immediately after the end of slavery and achievement of his life's work. Less fun is the realization that 150 years later the echoes of slavery are an enduring challenge in American society.

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-25 11:15

    Very insightful. This man was amazing.

  • Linda Burr
    2019-03-23 12:12

    this is a must read. seriously, if you haven't read this book you should.

  • Crystal
    2019-04-11 10:15

    I'm at a loss how to review a book like this. it seems too important of a piece of history and literature to matter what my mere opinion is. But here goes. I was introduced to Frederick Douglass through his first memoir (sadly not as part of my schooling--shame on my school), and was completely swept away by him. His passion for freedom and justice and right vs. wrong spoke to me, and he instantly joined the pantheon of my heroes. HE also inspired me to read his third and final memoir, which was a significantly larger volume. I took my time reading this book. There was a lot to digest, and while there were many utterly engaging narratives and brilliant insights, there were also sections that slowed down the narrative a lot, especially towards the end of the book, where Douglass included verbatim many speeches/ articles/ essays both by and/or about him. Some of them were really long, and I think listening to this book on audio in the car didn't serve me well in fully appreciating those sections. However, the vast majority of this book swept me away and enforced more than ever what an amazing person Douglass was. How he came so far and achieved so much, despite the horrible circumstances of his birth and youth, and the never-ending prejudices he faced as a man of color in the United States. Multiple times throughout the book I found myself wanting to write down lines of his writing. His insights into the United States' decline into the Civil War were especially timely and yet concerning, when compared with the obvious parallels in current life to what he described of his experience and observations of that time. the chapter where he addresses women's suffrage had me cheering aloud in my car. What an amazing heritage his book and even more so his life leaves to the world. I intend to buy a copy of this book to keep in my permanent library, and am looking for even more books about him. I'll end with one of my favorite quotations: "For no man who lives at all, lives unto himself. He either helps or hinders all who are in anywise connected to him."

  • Dennis Murphy
    2019-04-06 10:05

    The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick DouglassThough at times braggadocious, the autobiography paints a genuine portrait of the world we have long since left behind. He comes across as an eminently wise man, and he is deserving of his place in history. I had read excerpts of his material before, and made reference to him in the past. My first encounter with him was on the history channel, back when that channel lived up to its name, where he was likened to a modern day Cato, surprising his audience with an uncommon mastery of the spoken word when they had thought they would receive a negro-affected accent that was bound to the unedified subjugated status of his birth. In this text Mr. Douglass said that he faced fierce resistance to this by his own companions, who feared that his speech would lead others to doubt his genuine status - a fear that would be made manifest shortly after their wise, but ultimately undignified and dishonest counsel.I very much enjoyed this book, and found that I had to consume it in small chunks so as to better digest it. On a whole, it took me a little over a week to finish my consumption of it - though I find that I started from Chapter 15 to the end this evening.I would recommend it to the canon of Western Literature, and certainly in any definitive list of top 100 American Works of Literature.

  • Katrina Sark
    2019-04-02 14:48

    “I could think of nothing scarcely but my life, and in thinking of my life, I almost forgot my liberty. I have observed this in my experience of slavery that whenever my condition was improved instead of it increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I found that to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one, and it is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right, and he can brought to that only when he ceases to be a man.”

  • John
    2019-04-06 11:08

    An extraordinary book. Actually felt cheated that this book hadn't been introduced to me in school. Large portions of this should be on curricula for American history, particularly his life as a slave, an escapee, and an abolitionist (probably the first 3/4s of the book). His writing is exemplary, straightforward, with beautiful flourishes flashing with profound wisdom that still echoes true through today.

  • Alajiha Robinson
    2019-03-21 09:50

    I think this book was very descriptive and intellectual. I was able to fully understand and connect to the pain and suffering of African Americans during slavery. Douglass did not let being a slave define him because he knew what he was capable of in this world. Douglass was a huge factor of how slavery became abolished.

  • Eb Daniels
    2019-04-11 09:13

    An essential read for understanding Frederick Douglass' conception of himself as a slave and as a freedman, although not as valuable for historical research about slavery as an institution as its modern proponents would claim

  • Erica Shier
    2019-04-09 14:06

    It's a classic for a reason.

  • Alissa
    2019-04-13 11:57

    could skip past the first half of the book if you read book 2. appreciate this book’s 2nd half because it addresses his life after escape (political career).

  • Keith777
    2019-04-15 14:02

    Great read. Unique pov, obviously. not sure why this was not required reading somewhere in my schooling. recommend to all.

  • Andrew Morton
    2019-04-11 12:11

    This third autobiography shows his growth in writing skill and the perspective of age. I was deeply moved by his attitude toward his life and experiences.

  • Lini
    2019-04-14 15:15

    I think this book is a great example of why reading and writing is so important.

  • Harry Allagree
    2019-03-20 12:49

    This is one of the most memorable books I've read in a long time! Every now & then an author produces a work of such wisdom, reality & truth as to merit being read by wide audience, and, IMHO, this is one of them. What Douglass, a former uneducated black slave & later a self-motivated scholar & social activist, conveys isn't so much words, though his writing is astute, dignified, coherent, and bears sometimes a sort of poetry & lyricism, especially his descriptions. He conveys deep insight into the human mind & spirit -- his own & that of the other people, and there were many, who passed through his life. You have to wonder how such remarkable human being developed, given the almost insurmountable barriers which he faced & conquered throughout his life.Several of his observations & insights caught my eye: 1) his incredible sense of what every human being is & should be, even from his earliest age; 2) his undying commitment to "colored people", to use his words, whoever & wherever, as well as to anyone who differed from the "norm"; 3) his utter loyalty in friendship, even when that was tested; 4) his sense of fairness, even willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to those who persecuted him; 5) his deep, deep faith & knowledge of Scripture, even though he didn't necessarily consider that synonymous with the forms of organized religion, even forms common among his own people; 6) his noble sense & treatment of women; 7) his strength of character when opposing evil, unrighteousness, untruth, & violence.It occurred to me while reading this how much of true American history many of us have missed along the way, given Douglass' own account of how intricately his own life was woven with the life of the nation. He had the advantage of knowing, conversing with, and socially interacting with historical figures of vast stature, Abraham Lincoln being only one example. His political commentary on his life & times was not only fair, but forthright & unabridged, even to the point of pointing out his own mistakes in this regard.My suggestion is that if you want to understand why today we have a tragic situation in Ferguson, MO; or why the life of a young Latino boy in Santa Rosa, CA, was needlessly taken; or why there is fierce opposition to equitable laws for immigrants; or why racism which has been ingrained in American society since the beginning of the country shows little signs of abating; or how what at one time perhaps merited to be called the Grand Old Party, the Republicans, developed & changed to absorb the viewpoint of wealthy slaveholder Democrats of the South, and how both over the years then transformed into the mess we call today's Congress -- if you want to pursue these issues, I urge you to read The Life and Times of Ferderick Douglass.

  • blakeR
    2019-04-05 15:09

    An important work for any U.S. citizen to be familiar with. The first half of the book -- up through the Civil War -- has a greater sense of urgency and significance, and probably the most memorable segments of all are his memories of slavery and escape. But even if the second half of the book is anti-climactic, he's still a man who should be mentioned in the same breath as MLK, and refreshing your memory with this book every now and then is a good way to make that happen.Besides Douglass's harrowing personal experience as a young man, the most surprising part of his memoir is how timely it feels at the end of 2016. Yes Douglass was talking about slavery, but then again we have just finished enshrining a neo-Nazi sympathizer into the White House. The Republicans today are not all that different -- in stridence or hatefulness -- from the slavery-supporting Democrats of the late 19th century.What Douglass says about those Democrats, and about the Republicans who kept trying to compromise with them (remind you of anyone?), is so instructive as to seem prophetic. He speaks at length of this misguided approach at two different points, both of which feel applicable today: in the run-up to the Civil War and at the end of the Reconstruction period. Douglass elegantly and vehemently explains how any attempt to reconcile with hatred is bound to fail, and that the correct response -- both morally and practically -- is courageous intransigence. What Douglass says about the Reconstruction-era Republicans is especially painful for anyone who has modern day Democrats in mind:. . . Political parties, like individual men, are only strong while they are consistent and honest, and . . . treachery and deception are only the sand on which political fools vainly endeavor to build. When the Republican party ceased to care for and protect its southern allies, and sought the smiles of the southern Negro murderers, it shocked, disgusted, and drove away its best friends.Clinging in hope to the Republican party, thinking it would cease its backsliding and resume its old character as the party of progress, justice, and freedom, I regretted its defeat. . . 393I can't read the end of that first paragraph and not think back to Hillary courting Henry Kissinger and other moderate Republicans this past summer. There's someone who probably should have re-read this book some time during the campaign. . . Not Bad Reviews@blakerosser1

  • Kay
    2019-04-02 15:58

    I was interested in reading the Frederick Douglass' account of his own life after watching Lincoln and noticing how token the African-American voices seemed in that movie. The abolitionist movement was filled with freed slaves—but you'd never know that from watching Steven Spielberg's film. Though I think overall the book is worth reading, the problem with it is that it gets steadily worse throughout. Douglass was obviously more comfortable talking about his life as a slave than he was as his place as America's true first African-American public intellectual. The book starts by describing his life as a slave. He both witnessed some horrifying treatment and some incredible kindness. It's almost cliche to say it, but it's still a good reminder to read the personal account of someone who lived through slavery. It is a black mark on this nation's history, and it is something we shouldn't ignore or turn away from. Still, Douglass is extremely careful throughout his descriptions of the conditions that he endured that he does not blame his owners for their treatment—rather, he blames the system of slavery. After he escapes and begins to build a life for himself in the North, the chapters include more of his speeches, his meetings with various people, and his eventual reluctance to encourage freed slaves to fight in the Civil War. Though Douglass chiefly hated slavery, he recognized that the abolition of this horrible institution was the beginning of many other struggles. He points out that freed slaves where given nothing, meaning that Americans should not be surprised that they were still entrenched in poverty and sharecropping.What's annoying about the latter part of his book is that he does a lot of name dropping and adopts a self-deprecating attitude about his place. It actually reminds me of modern flattery that activists, politicians and celebrities engage in. Though he clearly disagreed with Lincoln about many things, he went out of his way to describe how much he admired the man and how comfortable he felt in his presence. The last act of the book is largely a year-long vacation through Europe, and reads like a not-very-good travelogue. Still, I'm glad I read the book, and I think it's worth adding Douglass' works to any interest in the Civil War or race in America.

  • Gayle Gordon
    2019-04-11 08:06

    I listened to the audiobook borrowed from the Dallas Public Library.This is a fascinating life story of someone who started out as an enslaved, barely-clothed child into a respected and influential man, a world traveler and advisor to presidents.Douglass wrote his autobiography several times but this was the last one, written late enough into his life that he no longer had to fear naming names and revealing his friends as well as his enemies.The only complaint I have, and the one thing I would have requested more information from him if I could have asked, was more information about his family life. He barely mentions his wife and children, although one of the few mentions is the sad one that he had to return from England early due to the death of one of his daughters. He also mentions his disappointment in the poor treatment of his daughter when he sent her to an expensive private school. His information about his family is so sketchy, I'm unsure as to whether these two stories are about the same daughter.He also mentions that two of his sons were in the famous 54th infantry, the first black regiment in the U.S. Army. I would have loved to learn more of the sons' experiences.I watched a documentary about abolitionists that said Douglass's wife (future wife at the time) sewed the sailor suit that Douglass used as a disguise when he escaped from slavery and even sold her own bed to raise money to help him escape, but Douglass does not mention this in his book at all. Maybe he mentioned it in one of his earlier books, but I was a bit disappointed that he did not give his wife any credit. He never even tells us her name! This is even more surprising given that he praises women's rights and suffrage late in the book and says some glowing things about his respect for women in general.It could be that he was trying to protect his family's privacy by leaving them mostly out of the book, but then again he was already so famous I'm not sure they had much privacy left.Also, he was mostly focusing his book on the politics of the time and the struggles of the anti-slavery movement, which he describes in very eloquent detail.I think his writings should be required reading for all educated people.

  • Nancy
    2019-04-19 10:01

    I have often thought of learning more about Frederick Douglas, and also reading more biographies. I didn't realize I was listening to this book during Black History Month, until I was well into the book. Frederick Douglass tells his amazing story of his life as a little boy born into slavery. He gives credit by name to people who helped him a long the way. He had white friends as a boy in Baltimore, who helped him learn how to read. His mistress had started teaching him to read, and was very proud of his progress. Then her husband forbid her from teaching a slave to read. Frederick escaped from slavery, and met abolitionists, who used him to get support for the cause of the abolition of slavery. People didn't believe he was a slave, because he was so well spoken. He hadn't told people where he had been a slave, or the names of his slave holders. He finally wrote about these things, and then there was a fear for his life. He went to live in Europe for several years, before he thought it was safe to come home. He knew an amazing number of prominent people in our countries history, and influenced many people. Towards the end of his book, he told of going back to his home, and meeting with his slave holders, and their families. One slave holder said he always knew he was too intelligent to be a slave, and he would have done the same thing, and escaped, if he had been in the same situation. It was interesting to hear how Frederick felt about John Brown and Harper's ferry. He visited John Brown's home, and found it very austere, even though Brown had a prosperous store. Brown had told Douglass about his plan for Harper's Ferry, but Douglass advised him not to do it. After the attack on Harper's Ferry, there was a hunt for anybody, who had knowledge of Brown's plan. Frederick Douglass again went to Europe, until things calmed down in this country. Doulass wrote a very long book. The narrator had a rather uppity tone of voice, which put me off at first. It's usually British actors who give me this feeling. Perhaps this person was chosen to narrate this book, because Douglass was such an extraordinary person. I can see very well why Black people are so proud of this man.

  • Aaron Aoyume
    2019-04-13 15:48

    I came across this book through Updike's several quotations in Rabbit Redux, and got very interested in it because I later noticed that Frederick Douglass shows up in Edward Zwick’s Glory in a brief scene about the creation of the first “colored” regiment in the Union army during the Civil War. The story of Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry has appealed to me since high school when I first saw the movie and that brought me to the book, especially when I learned that Douglass’ very sons were part of the regiment. So I started out of a glimpse of curiosity and then found myself completely taken by the reading. The life of Frederick Douglass is a formidable one by any standard you might try to measure it. His experiences as a young slave and his later involvement with the antislavery movement in the U.S. are worth a movie on its own, and in this book it is told with elegance, honesty and humbleness. Humble enough, Douglass does not argue against the fact he had been very lucky in his whole life (a vivid example of Taleb's survival bias), and also humbly admits his own mistakes, as in the case of the bankruptcy of Freedman’s Savings Bank. Nevertheless, that does not diminish his merits as a witty and talented man, qualities that boosted him as an influencial politician and activist. If not for his extraordinary life story, Douglass’ speeches that are partly or wholly reproduced in the book are also great, especially because they are very honest commentaries of his times. Noteworthy, Douglass praises Abraham Lincoln’s courage to end slavery but also admits that Lincoln himself had not always embraced the antislavery cause, which for me seems a brave, de-mystifying affirmation about a so much reverenced personality.

  • Elizabeth Oladunni
    2019-04-07 12:06

    This book was recommended to me.Okay, to start with the good side. I learnt A LOT about the abolitionist movement. It was very interesting reading about his life from being a slave to becoming a freeman. Having read Lincoln's biography, I found it particularly interesting to read about the Civil War, the role of black people in the war and about Douglass' opinion about Lincoln. Another fascinating part of the book was reading about Douglass' opinion of Britain. He described Britain in a way that made it sound like a Liberal paradise. I suppose in many ways it was - when compared to America. However, after reading Small Island by Andrea Levy which was set in the aftermath of WW2, I am left to conclude that the Britain Douglass was exposed to was purely made of Academics who were more enlightened, and not the everyday Joe or Jill.For the not so great bits, I liked the first half of the book, but felt that I had to plod through the last half of the book. Mainly because it was filled with long speeches and correspondences that he made to people. This would have been okay if I knew more about American History and the Abolitionist movement, but that I don't. It was also filled with explanations about criticisms he received about some of the choices he made in public office - I was not very interested.Saying that, I still think it's a good read, but I read the 1892 edition, which is like 3 books in one - the last book is the least interesting. I would recommend reading the first and second part, but if you are not so knowledgeable in American History - don't read the last part.

  • Greg Chesser
    2019-04-11 13:12

    For those that love history this is amazing.

  • William S.
    2019-04-13 08:48

    This is a magnificent testimony to the human spirit. It is particularly worth reading in this 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I live in Easton, on Maryland's Eastern Shoire, where many of the events narrated by Douglass took place. Newxt month, a statue of him will be unveiled on the Courthouse lawn (joining a monument to the local soldiers of the Confederacy!). It is important to read the final edition, for then Douglass revealed his exact escape route - how he went from bondage to freedom in less than 24 hours. The grand Lloyd mansion where he was a slave still exists, and is a monument to many things - with the only Orangerie from the 18th Century still exiting on North America. Nearby was the residence of Franklin Buchanan, the foounde of Annapolis and the ranking Admiral of the Confederate fleet. After the war Douglass was entertained there, and Mrs. Buchanan, his hostess, had been a little girl at the Lloyd mansion when Douglass was a slave there. High recommendation - it is one of those books that I should have read years ago - but better late than not at all