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Life and Times of Frederick Douglass
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Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (The Autobiographies #3)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  346 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Raised as a plantation slave, Douglass went on to become a writer, orator, and major participant in the struggle for African-American freedom and equality. In this engrossing narrative he recounts early years of abuse; his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom, abolitionist campaigns, and his crusade for full civil rights for former slaves.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 28th 1998 by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company (first published 1881)
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John Gurney
Apr 16, 2015 John Gurney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Robert Owen
“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
Apr 26, 2013 Angie added it
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 Au ...more
A Great Book Study
My review of Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, and a little American history:
John Doyle
Jul 26, 2015 John Doyle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-read
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 t ...more
Aaron Aoyume
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 ...more
Harry Allagree
Aug 26, 2014 Harry Allagree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 convey ...more
Elizabeth Oladunni
Jul 01, 2014 Elizabeth Oladunni rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies
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
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 pro
Scott Worden
May 10, 2012 Scott Worden rated it really liked it
Frederick Douglas was an amazing man that never let go of God despite his difficult circumstances. He is definitely one of my heroes during the Civil War time along with John Brown and Abraham Lincoln.
Gayle Gordon
Apr 22, 2013 Gayle Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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 h
William S.
May 25, 2011 William S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Kay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pl
leona prospere

A,deep and thought provoking compilation. Reading this book transposed me to the nineteenth century, and I felt the pain, I felt the stripes, I felt the hunger, the cold and the victory and the glory.
Very well expressed,so that the occurrences of that period in the history of America will forever be etched in the consciousness of all who are thus motivated to seek truth; and contrast it with a history book,s perspective.
A must read for all black conscious youth.
Sep 29, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is so much that's amazing and awesome about this book, especially when viewed within the context of when it was originally written. However, I wish there were more about Douglass's personal life and a bit less of the in-depth political analyses that sometimes went on for far too long. Of course, reading about anything in Douglass's words is preferable to reading about it in a history textbook, but sometimes it was assumed that I had certain knowledge about an event that anyone living at th ...more
Shannon Green
Jul 03, 2014 Shannon Green rated it it was amazing
To those who believe that slavery wasn't so bad read this book. I was constant amazed by Mr. Douglass' wit, optimism and sarcasm. His narrative is an a must read for anyone interested in late 19th century America. His insights are absolutely fascinating.
Julian Haigh
Oct 04, 2013 Julian Haigh rated it really liked it
Wow - there are few people in the world of the calibre of Frederick Douglass. Born into an isolated slave-holding estate in Maryland, he was able to break into a greater realization of life and possibility through a commitment to learning surreptitiously. In 1830s he breaks for freedom, travels to England and becomes a representative of the black perspective for the anti-slavery movement. He meets and befriends John Brown back in the US (famous for Harper's ferry that 'pushed' the civil war) and ...more
Jul 04, 2014 TomC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is a marvelous story - exciting, heartbreaking, inspirational - that every American should read. Frederick Douglas was what might be called a self-made man ... although he himself gives credit to the people and circumstances that aided and allowed his progress from child of a slave to escapee to free laborer to accomplished orator, writer, and activist.

Besides the personal history and experience of Mr Douglass we also begin to understand the strained social and political environment of the
Feb 20, 2014 Monique rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-book
Frederick Douglas has also been an inspiration to me. After reading this book and thinking about his life experiences I am even more so impressed. His was a life lived with high morals, values and respect for life as well as slave and a free man.
An extraordinary memoir by an extraordinary man. My only disappointment was he didnt reveal much about his wife and family
Jan 29, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1845, this short little book was written by Douglass after escaping from slavery a few years before and becoming involved in the abolitionist movement. It is a fascinating snapshot of the slaveholding South in the years leading up to the Civil War, and also presents a startling account of the effect slavery had upon society, slaves and slaveholders alike. A quick read that refreshes the wonder all should continually hold in mind at the gross inhumanity and blindness that was ubiquitio ...more
Summer reading list
Selena La'Chelle
May 06, 2013 Selena La'Chelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Within the first riveting moments of the text it became clear why it is not only a staple of history and autobiography, but also a hallmark of American literature. Douglas artfully uses the genre to paint a vivid picture of the world around him in unforgettable tones. For me, however, there appeared a glaring gap in his tale where a love story might've been, leaving me to hope an autobiography of his wife (or children) may also be available. Overall, I have come to agree that this book is truly ...more
Nov 21, 2008 Diane rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. I am inspired by the achievements of Frederick Douglass. His writing style is poetic and engaging. You might not want to waste time with the forwards, but get right to the book. It is a powerful book and strong in it's description of slaves and their conditions, not for the faint in heart. The value of education is clearly indicated and this is clearly one of my best all time books! P. S. the Narrative is much shorter and gives a hint at the complete work.
Jake Maguire
One of the most powerful, straight forward and inspiring autobiographies ever written. If you think your life has been hard, let this book encourage you. Frederick Douglass may not write like Proust, Wilde, or Keats, but he delivers his life story with a grace and dignity that is truly second to none. A man with true character, and a noble spirit whose efforts during his life helped to break the chains of slavery and improve the lives of all Americans through his writings, and public service.
Oct 12, 2012 CJ rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago to do a summer book reading event for school and his story still rings true in my heart today.

This book is amazing. Reading it, you can almost hear his voice (when I did, I imagined he was telling it like in a speech to a group of people).

This is an amazing non-fiction piece. I believe I read the version before it was re-edited and then given a different title.

Wonderful piece of history. Read it at least once.

Apr 28, 2012 Jon rated it really liked it
A great commentary on slavery told by a slave. Fascinating to read while comparing to the modern slavery of today with the former slavery of yesteryear. Who are the abolitionists of today? The voluntarists.

It was interesting how the slave holders would cover their sins with Christianity. It is interesting how now days, many religious folk cover their sins covered by the Christian religion.
Alvin Dulcan
Mar 28, 2013 Alvin Dulcan rated it really liked it
Shelves: kengamble
Listening on Really great insight into the feelings of a slave, free man, and exceptional individual. It is amazing that the same issues had to be dealt with in 1960s with discrimination. HIs gift with language was extraordinary, especially in light of growing up with no education or even being exposed to proper speech. The end was a little dull due to inclusion of speeches.
Oct 04, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any description of this story I could provide would be inadequate. It is beyond my power to fully understand what made Douglass' story possible, nor can I give him all the credit he is due. I can only recommend that you read the book and see for yourselves. (I recommend the online HTML version in North Carolina's archives.)
Wendy Littleton
An Essay from this book titled, Learning to Read and Write, was another English assignment. I loved it! I love the 1800's anyway, and understanding the perspective of slavery from a slave was great. A slave that gains education and then sees what he missed, what he has, and what he'll likely never have tells a very enlightening story.
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Frederick Douglass (née Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey). Born as a slave in Maryland in 1818, he was to become a renowned abolitionist, editor and feminist. Escaping from slavery at age 20, he renamed himself Frederick Douglass and became an abolition agent. Douglass traveled widely, often at personal peril, to lecture against slavery. His first of three autobiographies, The Narrative of the ...more
More about Frederick Douglass...

Other Books in the Series

The Autobiographies (3 books)
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • My Bondage and My Freedom

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“Men who live by robbing their fellow men of their labor and liberty have forfeited their right to know anything of the thoughts, feelings, or purposes of those whom they rob and plunder. They have by the single act of slaveholding voluntarily placed themselves beyond the laws of justice and honor, and have become only fitted for companionship with thieves and pirates - the common enemies of God and of all mankind.” 0 likes
“How do you feel," said a friend to me, "when you are hooted and jeered on the street on account of your color?" "I feel as if an ass had kicked, but had hit nobody," was my answer.” 0 likes
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