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The Long Walk to Freedom: Runaway Slave Narratives

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  45 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In this groundbreaking compilation of first-person accounts of the runaway slave phenomenon, editors Devon Carbado and Donald Weise have recovered twelve narratives spanning eight decades—more than half of which have been long out of print. Told in the voices of the runaway slaves themselves, these narratives reveal the extraordinary and often innovative ways that these me ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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A series of snippets from several fugitive slave narratives--the overall picture is very effective, but I feel like the book loses something in giving us only small glimpses into each story. It makes the book feel like something less than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, a very good (if difficult) read that made me want to read or re-read the individual narratives in their entirety.

I'm not such a huge fan of the way the book is divided up--four major parts, with each arranged according to a t
Jan 14, 2014 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent introduction to what life was like under American chattel slavery, told in the voices of people who experienced -- and managed to escape -- it. Over the years I've read a number of the narratives excepted in the book, perhaps half. I found several more on the web and read them as I came to them in this book. They're easy to find and free to read. Over the past 30 years I've come to realize that slavery is the one defining American issue. To this day, the former slave-holding ...more
Ishmael Seaward
Dec 09, 2012 Ishmael Seaward rated it it was amazing
I find this collection of short histories horrifying, enlightening, and uplifting. These are excerpts of histories of slaves who made it to Northern free states, with the focus on how they actually escaped, as told by the former slaves themselves.

There is the story of Isaac Johnson, from Kentucky. He was born to a white man and a slave woman who lived together as man and wife. As Kentucky began to become more populated, his father (Yeager) came under more and more peer pressure concerning his li
Powerful collection of first person slave narratives. My only qualm is that the title suggests successful escape stories, but many of the selected works stop short of the successful escape and only detail the unsuccessful ones.
Kerry Johanson
Aug 31, 2013 Kerry Johanson rated it it was ok
While I think every American should read some accounts of slave experiences, I was dissappointed in this book for a couple of reasons. The title made me expect the stories would focus mostly about successful escapes. In most cases this wasn't the case, in fact some accounts STOPPED just short of the escape. The second reason is that the book grouped the narratives into four categories, but many of the stories did not fit its category. I guess I felt like this was a bit of a bait and switch this ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Jen rated it liked it
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. The Long Walk to Freedom was an eye opener for me. Even though I have always known slaves were treated horribly, reading about their trials written in their own hand was a difficult experience. I've come to believe there were slave owners who were basically legalized psychopaths. I gave this book 3 stars because the subject was honestly so hard for me to read. My heart ached for these people. The writing and editing were well done and I found myself wanti ...more
Aondoseer Msenge
Preparing the mind for the challenges in order to make meaning out of life

Patrick Ryan
Mar 10, 2014 Patrick Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and vital collection.
Sep 10, 2015 Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extracts from other books
Jan 02, 2014 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, research
Another excellent collection on the true horrors of American slavery, as told by the slaves themselves. Families where the father sold his wife and children, women sexually assaulted and abused by their owners, husbands and wives separated. No modern historian can bring the era alive like these first person accounts.
Jan 28, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A great collection of original sources showing some of the things slaves did to escape slavery. After reading the excerpts, I resolved to read the full accounts. This book really made clear the number of obstacles in the way of slaves seeking freedom. It also made clear the sick brutality of slave owners and the lengths to which they went to maintain their dominance over their fellow human brings.
Jul 29, 2013 Janette rated it liked it
The book is divided into different reasons for running away to escape slavery. For each reason there are several slave narratives that highlight the particular reason, such as running away from slavery because of religious reasons or feeling that your escape was facilitated through divine help. These narratives are small portions of actual books written by former slaves.
Nov 12, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, nonfiction
I thought this was a wonderful compilation of narratives from former slaves, but it was not what I expected. I thought it was going to be narratives of their actual runaway attempts, which some were, but others didn't mention anything about their actual escapes and lives afterwards. Overall, it was very moving and informative.
Jun 05, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
It's hard to say I "really liked" this book, filled as it is with heartrending accounts of human beings beaten, tortured, and separated from their loved ones. But this is an important book, and one that anyone truly interested in learning about the brutal reality of slavery should read.
Aug 30, 2013 Tynece rated it it was amazing
In spite of the topic of this book I loved it. I like that the narratives were written in the words of the slaves and in some instances by the slaves. I found myself praying that they all made it to freedom.
Oct 02, 2012 Yasmin rated it it was amazing
Excellent book of the stories of the actual people that were in and survived slavery and the horrendous conditions in which they lived.
Sharon Zink
Nov 11, 2012 Sharon Zink rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is comprised of short autobiographical stories of slaves who tried to escape slavery.
Oct 07, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing

I loved this anthology of experiences of escaping slaves. Some accounts horrifying others triumphant.
Sep 15, 2013 Dona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting but really couldn't get into the subject matter.
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