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Bound for the Promise-Land by Troy D. Smith

Bound for the Promise-Land

by Troy D. Smith

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This book follows the life of Alfred Mann from slavery to a career as a Buffalo Soldier. This was a book I had trouble putting down. When I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it, and it stayed with me long after I read the last page. ( )
  wearylibrarian | Mar 22, 2014 |
Born a slave on a South Carolina plantation, Alfred longs for freedom -- a concept he's not even sure he can define. Though the Emancipation Proclamation removes the shackles of the South's peculiar institution when Alfred is in his twenties, freedom for his soul remains elusive during four decades of war, bigotry, and tragedy. In the end, he's freed more by his own indomitable spirit than by governmental decree.

Winner of a 2001 Spur award from Western Writers of America, BOUND FOR THE PROMISE-LAND is an epic of monumental proportions. As a civilian and then a U.S. soldier, Alfred fights to survive slave row, the Civil War, race riots in New York, the Indian wars in the southwest, and the Spanish-American War before he finds the promised land he unknowingly carried within him from the moment of his birth. Told entirely through Alfred's eyes, the story is brutal in many places and remarkably tender in others. If it isn't already, the book should be required reading alongside classics by Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and other authors known for the historic and cultural significance of their work.

Impeccably researched and exceptionally written, BOUND FOR THE PROMISE-LAND packs an enormous emotional and intellectual punch. Nevertheless, the prose is accessible and without heavy-handed, biased moralizing about complex issues. Much of that is due to the author's deft hand in presenting Alfred's existential angst. A simple man on the surface, Alfred's still waters run deep internally. He's confused, but never quite overwhelmed, by the unfairness and elemental indignity life often bestows for no discernible reason, yet he soldiers on -- literally and metaphorically. By eventually adopting the surname Mann, he also articulates his quest and adds structure to the construct "Promise-Land," which both former slaves and free Blacks seek as their ultimate reward for enduring the humiliation that is unavoidable in a world where people are judged by the color of their skin.

BOUND FOR THE PROMISE-LAND is bound to be a classic -- a wholly engaging read and an important work of literature. ( )
  DisorderlyWords | Mar 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595011020, Paperback)

Alfred Mann was born a slave, but he had no intention of remaining one. Spurred on by his hunger for freedom, he begins a quest to find his place in the world. From the shackles of slavery to the smoky battlefields of the Civil War, from Reconstruction South to Northern race riots to fighting Indians on the Western Plains, Alfred proves to the world and to himself that he is a man. Along the way he finds love, friendship...and a trail of blood in Bound for the Promise-Land.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400)

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