Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown” as Want to Read:
The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  96 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In 1849, Henry Brown escaped from slavery by shipping himself in a crate from Virginia to an anti-slavery office in Philadelphia. 27 hours and 350 miles later, Brown stepped out of his box to begin a new life. This is his memoir, originally published in 1851 in England, as fresh and compelling today as it was 150 years ago.
This extraordinary narrative paints an indelible
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published March 14th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 22, 2010 Dwight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for everyone in America. It tells the tragic story of the terror that African-American's had to endure as slaves in America. This is the reality that most white Americans don't want to talk about.
Deidre Valentine
Jun 01, 2012 Deidre Valentine rated it liked it
“The whole feature of slavery is so utterly inconsistent with the principles of religion, reason and humanity, that it is [a] wonder that…God [could even be mentioned in] this hellish system.” writes Henry Box Brown in his slave narrative that does far more than just mention God. In fact, the entire narrative is preoccupied with slave-owning Christians and their ill treatment of people as mere possessions to be used, abused, bought, and sold. One example after another demonstrates Methodist prea ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Rita rated it liked it
When I read "The Known World" by Edward Jones, I was intrigued by the story of a slave, Henry Brown, who escaped to freedom by having himself shipped in a box to Philadelphia. That part of "The Known World" was based on a true story, so I had been searching for the book, written by Mr. Henry Box Brown, since 2005. Finally, I landed a copy at a used book store and was thrilled with his original story. There are two introductions. One introduction talks about the original publication of Mr. Brown' ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting, and a very well told tale. The author, Henry Box Brown, escaped slavery by packing himself in a very small box, 3x2.5x2 feet, and having some of his allies ship him from Richmond, VA, to Philadelphia. Brown admits that for much of his life his treatment was not too bad in the sprectrum of how owners treated their slave. Howver, he still as an adult had his wife and children taken away from him, the impetus for his escape. The story is elegantly told, particularl ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it
What an excellent read, as well as companion piece to Olaudah Equinao. This book raises reflective questions as it seeks to understand mankind in a time of the harshest cruelty. With ingenuity and a trusted friend, Henry makes it. After 27 hours in a 3x2 foot box, he makes it to freedom. Unforgettable.
Mike Stacey
Mar 01, 2016 Mike Stacey rated it really liked it
This book isn't long, but is loaded with the horrors of slavery. It should be required reading for all middle school children as an introduction to American history. A tough read but only because it was hard to read about how terrible Americans were to other human beings
Phuong Dao
Apr 24, 2011 Phuong Dao rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-study
Henry Brown was a little slave. When his master died, his master gave him away to the son and told Henry to be good. Henry was put working in the factory day in and day out. He met a young lady, and they get married and having children together. One day while working in the cigar factory his other came in and told him that his children were sold by the owner. Henry watched as they took his children away, but he was too helpless to do anything. He decided to move up north where all the free slave ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen Kudlik
Dec 08, 2014 Maureen Kudlik rated it liked it
Writing is dry--story is amazing.

Simple read for slave narratives. A MUST if you would like to get the full picture of the injustices of slavery and how men/women showcased ingenuity to escape.
Holly Lindquist
This book contains the amazing but true tale of a Virginia slave who literally mailed himself to freedom in a claustrophobic wooden crate. It was quite an ordeal. The crate was helpfully labeled THIS SIDE UP, but this was ignored several times in his long journey. For 27 hours, he was jostled, turned upside down, and generally knocked about, but he took it all with extraordinary fortitude.

Brown's account caused controversy when it was first published. Because he revealed the details of his plan,
This slavery and escape narrative read more like a diatribe against religion, or an account of Brown's growing disillusionment with religion and other comforts that whites took for granted (such as marriage). The escape part took up very little space in the narrative. I did somewhat enjoy it, though. It was well written and structured, and he was surprisingly funny and ironic, even when talking about how he nearly broke his neck while enclosed in a box for 27 hours. Good times.
Scott Smith
Oct 01, 2010 Scott Smith rated it liked it
It's the narrative of a guy who escaped slavery by boxing himself up and shipping himself to Philadelphia (hope that's not a spoiler, but it says so on the cover). Worth reading, perhaps not dripping with insight but a good snapshot of the time period and issues.
Stephen Bess
Jan 04, 2011 Stephen Bess rated it it was amazing
Great historical magic trick. Loved this true account of a man's determination to be free.
Matthew Hitchman
Matthew Hitchman rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2016
Júlio marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
J marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2016
Stefani marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2016
Marc Kohlman
Marc Kohlman marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2016
Michele is currently reading it
Sep 10, 2016
Lauren marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
Meeshell rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2016
Josh T
Josh T marked it as to-read
Aug 08, 2016
Christopher marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
Diana Breen
Diana Breen marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
Harry Stewart
Harry Stewart marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2016
Claire Baxter
Claire Baxter marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Elliott Souder
Elliott Souder rated it really liked it
May 26, 2016
ChrisP Poyner
ChrisP Poyner marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Henry Brown was a 19th century Virginia slave who escaped to freedom by arranging to have himself mailed to Philadelphia abolitionists in a wooden crate.

As a free man, Brown lectured across New England on the evils of slavery and participated in the publication of the Narrative of Henry Box Brown (1849). In 1850, a moving panorama, Henry Box Brown's Mirror of Slavery, opened in Boston.

That same
More about Henry Box Brown...

Share This Book