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Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  409 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
From the award-winning novelist and biographer Beverly Lowry comes an astonishing re-imagining of the remarkable life of Harriet Tubman, the “Moses of Her People.”

Tubman was an escaped slave, lumberjack, laundress, raid leader, nurse, fund-raiser, cook, intelligence gatherer, Underground Railroad organizer, and abolitionist. In Harriet Tubman, Lowry creates a portrait enri
ebook, 432 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Anchor (first published June 12th 2007)
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The Book Maven
The title should have given it away: this was the imaginary life of Harriet Tubman. Which is sad, because her life was real, and fascinating, and here it is reduced to conjectures. The irksome thing is that though its disclaimer is "imagining", it is still marketed as non-fiction/biography.

I will admit that it takes me longer to read nonfiction, but holy cow this is ridiculous. The only reason that this book is not completely boring is because it indulges in flights of fancy; it projects thought
Sometime in grade school, maybe 4th or 5th grade, I read a children's book about Harriet Tubman, so I knew the basics of her being an escaped slave who put her own life on the line to bring several other people North to freedom from slavery. I'm on a big biography kick lately, so decided to learn a little more. Boy did I ever! This lady was BRAVE and STRONG. Tough as Nails!

Things I learned:
- Harriet grew up in Maryland. I guess I had always assumed she was born further in the Deep South.
- Her fi
Jun 12, 2009 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed learning as much as I did from this book. While the writer tried to sort of exhaustively proceed through the subject's life year by year, month by month, recreating as much as possible, this sometimes made reading a bit repetitious and dry. Also, the author had a tendency to skip ahead in time and tell the reader of events that may not happen for decades. Finally, the family tree and all the kinships and names were very hard to keep track of. In spite of all this, I thorough ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Elise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I really liked this true-to-life account of Harriet Tubman's life as one of the heroes of the Underground Railroad. While I appreciate the dramatization of some biographies, this one avoids speculation by presenting the facts and then personifying an occasional scene here and there. The result is not as gripping as I'd sometimes like, but it was a very good read. I came away with an increased sense of gratitude for freedom and the courage of so many to do what they could to help others.
Jul 09, 2007 Lewis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea this life was so varied....I only knew of her as the conductor of the underground railroad. But, she also worked down in South Carolina during the Civil War as nurse, spy, cook, and liaison to the newly freed slave community. Did the government pay her a pension? No, not until she bothered them for years and years. anyrate, the writing is quite good and the story is excellent.
Unbiased look at an amazing woman. What she accomplished as an illiterate former slave staggers and humbles me. It reinforced the sadness of lost family and ancestors that will never be discovered.
Carl Rollyson
Sep 04, 2012 Carl Rollyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reared in slavery, beaten by her masters, struck in the head as a young woman with a heavy weight that caused narcoleptic spells — the story of Harriet Tubman is well-known. This petite, illiterate woman ran away to the free North, and then repeatedly returned to her home ground of Maryland, spiriting away not only her own family, but dozens — perhaps even hundreds — of slaves, never once getting caught or losing anyone in her charge.

When the Civil War broke out, Tubman became a nurse and intell
Rachel Jackson
Aug 19, 2016 Rachel Jackson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Without a doubt the worst biography I have ever read. Maybe even the worst history book I've ever read. Nothing in this book tells any real, important detail of Harriet Tubman's life that I didn't already know. Author Beverly Lowry writes like the novelist she apparently is, concocting a story out of nowhere with pseudo-beautified language, but telling the reader nothing of note about this towering woman in American history.

As other reviewers have said, the title alone should have been an indic
James (JD) Dittes
What is remarkable here, is the scholarship that Lowry pulls together to form this biography is remarkable. The early sections, dealing with Harriet's--nee Arminta Ross--childhood on Maryland's eastern shore reminded me of the work of Annette Gordon Reed on Sally Hemings.

The fact is that Harriet Tubman never learned to read or write, so her background must be reconstructed from old runaway slave ads, wills, and other legal transactions. Even later in life, Tubman would dictate stories from her
I already have a huge interest in the life of Harriet Tubman, so this was an easy read. Someone less interested might find it dull. The author did an incredible amount of research to give good insight about slavery on Maryland's Eastern Shore (different from in the Deep South) and the forming of black military regiments during the Civil War. This book answered a lot of questions for me about how my own family might have bought freedom and land before the emancipation.

I was especially pleased wi
Apr 07, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had wanted to read a biography of Harriet Tubman. This one was ok , but not that great. There was too much unnecessary detail in the beginning and the writer seemed to be using other peoples's works and not her own research. It gave me some new information about this amazing woman, but not exactly what I had hoped for. I'm glad I read it but it is not one I will pick up again.
Jun 03, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Given that it's based on pulling together research and various accounts of people who are no longer alive, some sections were awkward and hard to follow at times. Overall, however, it was well researched and well written. Enjoyed reading this perspective.
Charlene Smith
Oct 28, 2007 Charlene Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew very little about Ms. Tubman. This book explained
all that this person was. Real interested in the actual
strength she had in spite of her physical ailments.
She is someone to look up to and see what a person
can do.
Gris Mcksomething
This book had enlightening moments but most of it was written in a current (vs reflective) style which means there are pages of boring stuff... Like my journal
Feb 08, 2008 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love to read anything about Harriet Tubman. Author did tons of research and the story of her life is very well-told.
Nov 30, 2010 ShadowTalon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly inspiring and wonderfully personified, Harriet Tubman was undoubtedly one of the greatest American heros of all time. And this biography catches that heroic feeling perfectly.
havent read it yet
Jessica Kopp
Hard to read about an imagined life. Wish the author had not included so many caveats . I needed a more real story so I am now reading Harriet Tubman the road to freedom by Catherine Clinton.
May 06, 2016 Julia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
H. Tubman was an amazing woman. Enjoyed reading about her life experience, however, the book was too long by almost 200 pages. A bear to get through...
Feb 06, 2008 Elissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My daughter is studying a poem about Harriet Tubman and I thought it would be interesting to learn about her life.
After escaping slavery, she went back 19 times to help free others in slavery.
Camilla Ross
Jul 03, 2015 Camilla Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book encompasses great detail on her life. As I continue to perform this signature role I often refer back to it when I need a little guidance. Great Stuff!
Tanisha rated it it was ok
Mar 02, 2012
Karley Lipke
Karley Lipke rated it liked it
Oct 24, 2012
Jim rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2015
Arthur Dawson
Arthur Dawson rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2014
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Jul 30, 2012
Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2010
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