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

by Frederick Douglass (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,34780820 (3.94)110
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 Douglass by Frederick Douglass (1845)

  1. 10
    The Life of Josiah Henson: Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada 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)  English (80)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Frederick Douglass wrote this narrative shortly after his escape from bondage and, as such, it focuses primarily on his life as a slave without much detail on the means by which he effected his escape as such information could put those who helped him in danger. The volume includes a preface from William Lloyd Garrison that outlines the abolitionist goals of the narrative. Douglass' longest chapter details the brutality of slavery, from beatings and whippings to the manner in which slaveholders bred their slaves. Douglass' narrative was first and foremost an abolition narrative with a stated goal. He concludes that he wrote "sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system and hastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of my brethren in bonds" (76). While that does not discount the accuracy of what he wrote, readers should read this volume in the context in which Douglass wrote in order to better appreciate the argument he was making for abolition. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Nov 24, 2016 |
This book is a memoir of his journey through slavery.
  ashermak | Oct 24, 2016 |
Easier to read than I expected and more interesting than expected. There was a lot left out that would have been helpful to the story, such as meeting and falling in love with his first wife, as one example. I realize this was his story and he could leave out what he wanted to leave out, and obviously had reasons for doing so, but there were things that would have made his story more personal. Not on my favorite list and not on my recommendation list, but wasn't a waste of time. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
This was a very compelling story of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. I found it a very interesting read and do recommend it. I also found the story to have an underlying meaning which is why I gave this book high ratings.

The story is one of Frederick Douglass and the trials and tribulations he goes through as an American Slave. All of the oppressions of slavery are here. He spares no expense describing the autrocities committed by his masters throughout the years. There are a few key points to keep in mind, however, as he narrates this story. First of these is that Frederick Douglass is very well educated. The prose in which he tells the story is exquisite. In fact, one can almost call the language charming. He uses the old English style of writing which very easily puts you, the reader, in the mid to late 1800s where the story takes place.

Then, what came as a shock to me was the location setting of this story. When one thinks of slavery, the images of the deep south come to mind. Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia are all states that have a rich past in slavery. The south described here is Baltimore. Yeah, that's right Baltimore. Freedom for Frederick Douglas meant New England. Even New York was not a safe haven as Frederick describes stories of kidnappers that are eager to steal runaway slaves back to their masters for a price.

What I found interesting is that regardless of how the story is told, Frederick Douglass became free in his mind at one particular point in the story. This was long before he took off on his own. I am not going to spoil that part of the story for you, the potential reader of this tale, here in this review. This means that as Frederick Douglass got older, obtaining freedom from slavery became more mental and psychological than physical. It is interesting how he notes that his oppressors did everything possible to keep him ignorant. But it seems that once our author tasted of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, there was no turning back.

What I also liked about this book was that the escape was not a dramatic one. There was no running through the woods with the blood hounds hot on his trail. The escape was subtle. Yet I was captivated by how alone he was in his flight. I was captivated by the decisions he made from the lessons he learned in captivity. In the end, it seemed that freedom was obtained when he was in a place where others saw him as a person and not chattle.

What I disliked about this book was the introductions. Yes there is more than one. It seems that people like Houston A. Baker Jr. had an agenda to push this narrative and this is sad. I felt in reading the narrative that Frederick Douglass true captivity was really a state of mind. What made him different from other negros of the period was that he was able to think and risk on his own. I believe that this thinking brought him to all the right people to give him the opportunity to risk for his freedom. There are times in the story where this risk did not pay off and he did pay the price of treason for his actions. However, overall I feel that the power of his subconcious mind led him to where he wanted to be. At least, I found that this is how it read. Frederick Douglass gave me the impression that he wrote this to set himself as an example of how he became free in his mind first, then achieved it in his physical form. Houston A. Baker Jr. on the other hand seemed to have wanted to distribute this narrative as propaganda to lead other against slavery itself. What's wrong with that you say? I think that Houston A. Baker's introduction was more of, "see how good of a leader I am, regardless of the movement I am leading. See how many people I am connected to in order to push my agenda." The impression I got was that Houston A. Baker had no concern about changing the way people think in order to end slavery in the mind first.
( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
Much less conversational than Washington's autobiography, which I just read. What a damning indictment upon the slave holders of the south and their religion. Douglass paints a dark picture of slavery and does an admirable job of not only showing the evils but of the ways in which the slave holders affected the minds and wills of their slaves. The insight offered for today, in ways in which we seek to pacify parts of our population into thinking things are "ok" could take notice of Douglass's look into the psychology of slavery—physical and mental. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 23, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frederick Douglassprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blight, David W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gomes, Peter J.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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AR 7.9, 7 Pts
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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)

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11 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Yale University Press

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

Editions: 0300087012, 0300088310

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