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Frederick Douglass

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  166 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Former slave, orator, journalist, autobiographer; revolutionary on behalf of a just America, Frederick Douglass was a towering figure, at once consummately charismatic and flawed. His Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) galvanized the antislavery movement and is one of the truly seminal works of African-American literature. In this masterful and compelling b ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1990)
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Mount Holyoke Authors
56th out of 82 books — 5 voters
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Black biography
101st out of 109 books — 27 voters

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Oct 15, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: every body including yo Momma
Shelves: black-america
Even the boring writer of this book who seemed to employe his full powers of obfuscation could not kill the spirit of such a courageous, I will do what ever the F*ck I wanna do freedom fighter.

This lesson seems losts to most as it was to me untill I read this book- even though I know I did a book report on him in the third grade. Yet another powerful African American and human rights leader that this country has made milk toasts ala Martin Luther King.

Toward the end, this book was gut wrenchin
Glenn Robinson
Jan 24, 2015 Glenn Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible life. Frederick Douglass accomplished so much, interacted with so many and never stopped working until his death. This was a very good bio of Frederick that went into his life as a slave, his escape, his early years in Boston, his trips to England, Scotland and Ireland and then back to America in time for John Brown's Raid (he knew Brown and an arrest warrant was issued after the raid). Douglas became the Marshall of Washington, DC, the head of the Freedman's Bureau and then the ambas ...more
Apr 03, 2014 Bev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Excellent book, well written, interesting but factual, good coverage of his speeches and writings to give a picture of his character. Am even more impressed with Douglass. He had some roughness in his personality but I believe it is because of the trauma of 20 years as a slave. Became self-educated, mature, wise. Life continued to have hardships but he overcame and continued to be optimistic, positive, kind and focused on making things better for blacks even when the hurdles became more difficul ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 20, 2013 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Like most Americans, I've known of Frederick Douglass since childhood. He was the escaped slave who wrote the famous autobiography and met with President Lincoln. Beyond that, I saw the movie Glory with the brief appearance of the handsome black man besides the president on the reviewing stand. Beyond that--not much else.

McFeely's biography presents the whole person, from childhood to death, drawing a canvas darker, wider and more complex than the iconic picture. Doing so, he also tells the read
Tom Leland
Apr 06, 2014 Tom Leland rated it really liked it
A man I've long known to revere, but without knowing much beyond that he was an African-American hero; so good to fill in that gap. Looking around at the racism still so widespread in the U.S. -- if more hidden and subtle -- the day is yet to come when we can precisely state just how ahead of his time he was.
Buddy Don
May 24, 2016 Buddy Don rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
This was a good biography but not a great read, mainly due to the sad way Frederick Douglass' life ended, by which I mean how he was used by the Hayes Administration. The story, in other words, lacked the interest to the end that it began with, but it was still enlightening. How hard it is to be a hero beyond the age of 30!
Joe Rodeck
Dec 14, 2013 Joe Rodeck rated it liked it
The Emancipation Proclamation was just the start. Lynching was legal for a long time and terrorism in the South was too easily overlooked. Racial equality was a long slow climb.

It's hard to find a good history of the Reconstruction period. That story is the freshest part of this book.

Was surprised that Douglass's interracial marriage was hardly mentioned. More focus is on his traveling: boring.
Jul 10, 2012 Liz added it
This was a perfectly written biography that covered every aspect of the life of Frederick Douglass. The book uses a lot of Douglass' quotes from his autobiographies to gain his perspective on the situations described. It is definitely a must read for anyone interested in learning about the civil rights movement.
Jun 20, 2010 Duane rated it really liked it
A good look into the life of a great American, revealing both the brilliance and the warts of the man. It especially helped me to understand that the hope promised by Emancipation was dashed by the realities of post-Civil War injustices and brutality.
Scott Smith
Oct 01, 2010 Scott Smith rated it really liked it
I actually read both the 1845 and 1855 editions of his narrative, and of course it is pretty impressive. And pretty long.
Frederick Douglass
May 22, 2012 Frederick Douglass rated it liked it
Ignores Washington, DC.
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