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The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)

by William Styron

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2,311304,566 (3.93)203
The "magnificent" Pulitzer Prize-winning and #1 New York Times-bestselling novel about the preacher who led America's bloodiest slave revolt (The New York Times). The Confessions of Nat Turner is William Styron's complex and richly drawn imagining of Nat Turner, the leader of the 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia that led to the deaths of almost sixty men, women, and children. Published at the height of the civil rights movement, the novel draws upon the historical Nat Turner's confession to his attorney, made as he awaited execution in a Virginia jail. This powerful narrative, steeped in the brutal and tragic history of American slavery, reveals a Turner who is neither a hero nor a demon, but rather a man driven to exact vengeance for the centuries of injustice inflicted upon his people. Nat Turner is a galvanizing portrayal of the crushing institution of slavery, and Styron's deeply layered characterization is a stunning rendering of one man's violent struggle against oppression.   This ebook features a new illustrated biography of William Styron, including original letters, rare photos, and never-before-seen documents from the Styron family and the Duke University Archives.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I don't really care for this author's work that much, not that I have read it all. Thomas Wolfe is one of my favorite authors and Styron disliked his work so that may be why. Anyway, Styron has Turner down as gay. I suppose that is possible but isn't it more likely that the slave community fearing reprisal closed ranks around Turner's family and gave them a new identity in the confusing aftermath. ( )
  JoeHamilton | Jul 21, 2020 |
Outstanding read related to slavery ( )
  atufft | Jul 5, 2019 |
By sword and ax and gun you run a swath through this county that will be long remembered. You did, as you say, come damn near to taking your army into this town. And in addition, as I think I told you before, you scared the entire South into a condition that may be described as well-nigh shitless. No niggers ever done anything like this.

During my arrogant youth I signed up for a History of Slavery course, you know, so I could marshall evidence against The Man. I went the first day, inspired by Huey Newton, wearing a Ziggy Marley t-shirt, cargo pants and my Barca soccer cleats. I entered the room with Wretched of the Earth prominently displayed and discovered that the class was 80 percent black. This is southern indiana, mind you. I tried to participate and often did, the undertow of history kept clipping my thoughts and outbursts. The instructor was also white and spent most of the semester bursting into tears. The term project required reading a literary treatment of the period (Gone With The Wind, Beloved) and comparing it to slave narratives. I chose William Styron's novel, well, because it concerned Nat Turner. I did listen to Public Enemy after all.

I did enjoy the novel and can remember a number of aspects. Reading the critical responses to such, i can certainly empathize with those that felt that were being disinherited or disabused somehow by this nuanced portrait. The chanteuse Abbey Lincoln proclaimed on Ken Burns' Jazz, in this country they'll steal your ancestors. That's a great deal of baggage for a goodreads review. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This was an interesting book set from the perspective of the infamous narrator. I felt that the book had a lot to offer, especially for an aspiring writer such as myself, and I was only put off by the style and the constant (though perhaps necessary) religious overtones and reminders of the book. As stated in the introduction, this book is a social commentary on the times rather than direct historical fiction. That is the power behind it. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 20, 2018 |
This book won the Pulitzer prize and deservedly so. This may be the best historical fiction book every written ( )
1 vote ForSusan | Apr 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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To James Terry and to Lillian Hellman and to my wife and children
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TO THE PUBLIC - The late insurrection in Southampton has greatly excited the public mind and led to a thousand idle, exaggerated and mischievous reports.
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