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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (original 1845; edition 1995)

by Frederick Douglass (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,14480867 (3.95)119
Member:Dilara86
Title:Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Authors:Frederick Douglass (Author)
Info:Kindle free edition
Collections:Your library, E-books, Read by Dilara in 2012
Rating:****
Tags:autobiography, slavery, black studies, history, racism, African-American, US history, non-fiction, POC, famous POC, slave narrative

Work details

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)

  1. 10
    Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom by Josiah Henson (HistReader)
    HistReader: Both men discuss their treatment and lifestyle under subjection as slaves.
  2. 00
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano (joririchardson)
  3. 01
    To Be a Slave by Julius Lester (jacqueline065)
    jacqueline065: If your enjoyed the poignant narrative of Frederick Douglass, you will be moved by the perserved accounts of slave life in this book.
  4. 01
    The Mind of Frederick Douglass by Waldo E. Jr. Martin (eromsted)
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English (76)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (80)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Required reading for everyone. Douglass offers a riveting account of his life as a slave and eventual freedom. His tale reveals the evil of slavery and its systemic violence against black people. He also exposes the depth of pain faced by his people and the evil of slave holder religion. The man is prophetic! If you are a Christian in America (which still has its share of systemic injustice against black folk), we ought to wrestle with the ways our religion can be complicit in injustice:

between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Contained in the tiny, 122-page, pocket-sized book in front of me is the NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS: AN AMERICAN SLAVE -WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. I love that part: "Written by himself." Readers will follow a young man through the trials and tribulations of slavery as he teaches himself to read and write, fights for his freedom, and ultimately triumphs over seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This narrative is, in my opinion, a must-read for all students, for all Americans. It is especially relevant to the modern classroom, now as much as ever. As much as I admire and respect TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, to me, this true tale (made all the more special considering Douglass' difficult journey toward literacy) contains valuable lessons and gives an honest firsthand account of slavery. Furthermore, the story is exciting! Readers feel the intense pressure and fear, as when Douglass must choose between taking his chances running away into the wilderness--or return home to certain abuse and torture. Douglass' dauntless spirit and courage wins the day, and his inspiring story should be incorporated into school curricula in any number of ways, as a supplemental or anchor text in a unit on slavery or "narrative" or American history. The afterword, "About the Book," is located at the end of the narrative, in the final pages of the text. It discusses the need for modern students and citizens to understand slavery. I think this is phenomenally done, and touches on all the right issues without being didactic or partisan. It should have been included at the FRONT of the book! In any case, this story is one for the ages, not to be overlooked, and never forgotten. ( )
  andrewzutell | May 10, 2017 |
In honor of Black History Month, I've been trying to read primarily black authors. I finished Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave and Other Writings (the Fall River Press edition). Douglass gives us an unvarnished account of life under slavery, demolishing one by one contemporary excuses and apologies such as "the slaves were well-cared for because they were valuable property" or "the inferior negro race needed whites to guide them and save their heathen souls." He recounts a story of a slave sold south because he answered honestly when asked if his master treated him well. Douglass says, "The slaveholders have been known to send in spies among their slaves, to ascertain their views and feelings in regard to their condition. The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head...I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer..." He addresses not only the horrific physical abuses of slavery, but writes with poignancy about the moral and spiritual decay that slavery brings to slave holders. This is a classic of American literature and rebuke to all folks who insist that the Civil War was fought over "heritage."

This edition included several essays and presentations by Douglass including a detailed account of his escape from slavery which he didn't include in his initial "Narrative" because those that helped were still living in slave states and might be punished. I particularly liked his "Oration Delivered on the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Freedmen's Monument (In Memory of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park Washington, D.C, April 14, 1878)" which reminded his black audience that in spite of "the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr President of the United States...He was preeminently the white man's President...ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country. In all his education and feeling he was an American of the Americans. He came into the Presidential chair upon one principle alone namely the opposition to the extension of slavery." It's an interesting (and by all accounts accurate) take by a contemporary of Lincoln. The words made me flinch, even though I've read several modern biographies which support Douglass' conclusions. Lincoln was a remarkable man, but he was a man of his times. It's good to put history in perspective.

A number of the essays become a bit repetitious in tone and content, which is to be expected. In my opinion, the major weakness of the volume is the inclusion of a modern introduction to the book which only summarized the "Narrative"--why bother?--Douglass did a great job of telling his own story. The Preface included two letters by contemporary white abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips which now feel condescending, but at the time must have been necessary to assure (white) readers that this narrative was true and the author worth listening to. In the end, I was glad for the extra material and would recommend finding an edition that includes the "Other Writings." ( )
  MarysGirl | Mar 11, 2017 |
Utterly essential reading for Americans who soon forget that not long ago, men and women like Douglass were kept in human bondage and seen as mere property, with no rights to speak of, left at the mercy of their masters, and all because of the color of their skin. Douglass' account is a haunting detailed personal account of one of - if not the - darkest era in United States history. ( )
  SarahHayes | Feb 20, 2017 |
As a white Canadian, I think I have a not very admirable tendency to abstract the hell out of American slavery--to make it about the revolting idea of people owning other people (which it is) and then somehow less about what that meant: the sheer incomprehensible mass of abuses, from the daily sneer to the atrocities of casual, consequenceless rape and murder. Frederick Douglass is the antidote to that, one of the great testifiers to slavery's evil, and a hell of a man. This one's good to read (as a white North American person) any time you start to get tired of bringing to your relations with race, and with race relations, and with your friends and neighbours of other races all your gathered sincerity and humility and care. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
In honor of Black History Month, I've been trying to read primarily black authors. I finished Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An American Slave and Other Writings (the Fall River Press edition). Douglass gives us an unvarnished account of life under slavery, demolishing one by one contemporary excuses and apologies such as "the slaves were well-cared for because they were valuable property" or "the inferior negro race needed whites to guide them and save their heathen souls." He recounts a story of a slave sold south because he answered honestly when asked if his master treated him well. Douglass says, "The slaveholders have been known to send in spies among their slaves, to ascertain their views and feelings in regard to their condition. The frequency of this has had the effect to establish among the slaves the maxim, that a still tongue makes a wise head...I have been frequently asked, when a slave, if I had a kind master, and do not remember ever to have given a negative answer..." He addresses not only the horrific physical abuses of slavery, but writes with poignancy about the moral and spiritual decay that slavery brings to slave holders. This is a classic of American literature and rebuke to all folks who insist that the Civil War was fought over "heritage."

This edition included several essays and presentations by Douglass including a detailed account of his escape from slavery which he didn't include in his initial "Narrative" because those that helped were still living in slave states and might be punished. I particularly liked his "Oration Delivered on the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Freedmen's Monument (In Memory of Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln Park Washington, D.C, April 14, 1878)" which reminded his black audience that in spite of "the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr President of the United States...He was preeminently the white man's President...ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country. In all his education and feeling he was an American of the Americans. He came into the Presidential chair upon one principle alone namely the opposition to the extension of slavery." It's an interesting (and by all accounts accurate) take by a contemporary of Lincoln. The words made me flinch, even though I've read several modern biographies which support Douglass' conclusions. Lincoln was a remarkable man, but he was a man of his times. It's good to put history in perspective.

A number of the essays become a bit repetitious in tone and content, which is to be expected. In my opinion, the major weakness of the volume is the inclusion of a modern introduction to the book which only summarized the "Narrative"--why bother?--Douglass did a great job of telling his own story. The Preface included two letters by contemporary white abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips which now feel condescending, but at the time must have been necessary to assure (white) readers that this narrative was true and the author worth listening to. In the end, I was glad for the extra material and would recommend finding an edition that includes the "Other Writings."
 

» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frederick Douglassprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blight, David W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gomes, Peter J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Meally, Robert G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot country, Maryland.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486284999, Paperback)

The impassioned abolitionist and eloquent orator provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom. Published in 1845 to quell doubts about his origins, the Narrative is admired today for its extraordinary passion, sensitive descriptions, and storytelling power. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:43 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Perhaps the most powerful and influential black American of his time, Frederick Douglass, cmbodied the tumultuous social changes that transfored the united States during the nineteenth century. In a career of unprecedented breadth, Douglass rose from the oppression of his slave's birth to fame for Abolitionist.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300087012, 0300088310

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Skyhorse Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Skyhorse Publishing.

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