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My Bondage and My Freedom (The Autobiographies #2)

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  8,293 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Large Format for easy reading. Douglass was among the most prominent African-Americans of his time, and one of the most influential lecturers and authors in American history. His most well-known work is his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Critics frequently attacked the book as inauthentic, not believing that a black man ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1855)
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 29, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is a great book, by a great American. Skeptics looking at that statement might think, well sure you think that reading his own account. Except I've found autobiographies unintentionally revealing in fascinating ways. Within the last year I read autobiographies and memoirs by Ghandi, Dian Fossey and Booker T. Washington. The first book lessened my admiration and liking, the second made me absolutely hate the woman because of her own words, and the last left me ambivalent. And in the case of ...more
Caroline
Apr 21, 2017 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable, of course. Eloquent, and a bit wordy in 19th century style, but Douglass needed to prove that a Black man could match the rhetoric of his white peers.

I was most interested in Douglass’s comments on the expropriation of the product of labor. In skimming a couple of internet pieces on the availability of Marx’s writing in America, it appears Greeley published some of his writing in the early 1850s. My Bondage and My Freedom was published in 1854, when the impression left by the 1848 re
...more
Hana
My Bondage and My Freedom reads like the best of historical fiction. Douglass' story is full of lively characters--even the minor figures are vividly drawn. The descriptions transport us instantly to a particular place and moment in time.

For the first eight years of his life Douglass was raised by his grandmother who had charge of the young slave children. They all shared a cabin with a vegetable garden and the children mostly ran free on the plantation. As he describes it he was "a spirited, j
...more
Ij
My Bondage My Freedom

Written By: Frederick Douglass

Published By: Public Domain (Amazon) Kindle Edition

My Bondage My Freedom

I have read in the past about Frederick Douglass the famed abolitionist, orator, statesman, and writer. However, until reading this autobiography I knew nothing about him before he became famous.

This autobiography was published in 1855 and thus covered approximately thirty-seven (37) of his early years. Being born a slave, Douglass could only approximate the year of his bir
...more
Matt
Jan 19, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, memoir
This book should be required reading for all American students. Frederick Douglass' account of his years as a slave and the early years of his public advocacy as a freeman is among the most poignant and morally forceful works I've ever read. Highly recommend it to anyone.
Sumeyya
Aug 01, 2008 Sumeyya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE. Seriously, I mean it.
Recommended to Sumeyya by: professor
Shelves: favorites, re-reads
My Bondage and My Freedom is unparalleled in its complete scope of the utter destructive effects of slavery upon individuals and the larger group. There is NO other narrative, fiction or non, that describes the African American experience of bondage quite like this -- or in fact, at all. Other great African American thinkers (such as Du Bois or Washington) are able to examine the effects of slavery on society through observation; their accounts are mostly of African Americans' experience post-em ...more
Iris
Feb 07, 2012 Iris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Our house stood within a few rods of the Chesapeake Bay, whose broad bosom was ever white with sails from every quarter of the habitable globe. Those beautiful vessels, robed in purest white, so delightful to the eye of freemen, were to me so many shrouded ghosts, to terrify and torment me with thoughts of my wretched condition. I have often, in the deep stillness of a summer's Sabbath, stood all alone upon the lofty banks of that noble bay, and traced, with saddened heart and tearful eye, the ...more
Larry Bassett
Jan 04, 2017 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, audio
I experienced this book as a combination of audible.com as well as an e-book. The e-book went beyond the audible book in that it included a number of speeches that Douglas gave in the 1850s that were alluded to in the book. This is the second of several autobiographies that Douglas wrote in his lifetime. This book is a significant expansion of the first autobiography which was relatively short. Although it recovers the territory of the first book it is a stunning presentation of the man's early ...more
Thorin
Dec 08, 2010 Thorin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a very heavy read. Frederick Douglass has an amazing gift of language and he uses it well in describing his story. I wish everyone would read this. It was at times so tragic that I could hardly stand it and I felt my heart breaking in my chest. Other times I was thrilled with his soaring words from excerpts of his speeches that were included in the book. Douglass' observations about the institution of slavery are absolutely spot on and really helped me understand much more about both the ...more
Antonius Hogebrandt
[CW: slavery]

Wow, it apparently took me a month to read this. However, before I go into the review itself: that had very little to do with the book, and more to do with my busy schedule/technological issues.

I chose to read this as my "diverse non-fiction", since Frederick Douglass has fascinated me after the Epic Rap Battle featuring him vs Thomas Jeffersson, and (not to put too fine a point on it, but …) it was free due to being in the public domain.

No regrets. Douglass had a mind that I'm not
...more
Wade
Apr 21, 2017 Wade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book ought to be treated as a vital pillar in understanding the history of humanity in our country. Douglas tells his story of growing up in slavery, his gradual education as he took advantage of opportunities to to learn from the school books his young master brought home, and through this, his dissatisfaction with the state of things that would allow one group of people to subjugate and dehumanize another. Along the way he wrestles with how he can pray to the same God that his horribly ab ...more
Howard Olsen
Feb 06, 2010 Howard Olsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Frederick Douglass' story of his life as a slave, and his subsequent escape to the North. Douglass doesn't just describe the physical cruelty of southern slavery, although there's plenty of harrowing detail about that. He emphasizes the psychological pain suffered by slaves. We speak now of grinding poverty, but slaves like Douglass had to suffer through something even worse; the knowledge that their lives were not their own. This is brought home when Douglass' master - a man Douglass ha ...more
janet
Sep 23, 2014 janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, re-read
Douglass anticipated Althusser and Foucault's work on subject formation and Agamben's Homo Sacer and concept of the camp in this work and improved upon Hegel at his own metaphor whether Douglass was aware of the work or not all while trying to appeal to white liberals to end slavery peacefully though he eventually came to see that slavery wouldn't end without violence. In reading about his adjustment to life after slavery in the north, I felt like I was reading the story of a new immigrant. He d ...more
Camille Dent (TheCamillion)
**3.5-4**

This is an absolutely beautifully-written historical narrative. History is not my strong point, but this book's eloquence captivated me. Admittedly, some scenes felt a bit overwritten, with entire paragraphs dedicated to food or room description. My rating would probably be higher if I had had the leisure to slowly work through all of that detail rather than having deadlines for reaching specific chapters for my class. I love Douglass' perspective and way of thinking, and I appreciate h
...more
Jess
Apr 28, 2014 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To go through so much suffering physically and mentally and to come out on top so strongly - while maintaining undeserving class is truly remarkable. THIS is what kids in school should be required to read.
Amber
Aug 13, 2009 Amber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was wierd it was also disturbing bc it was gross. and also it would have been a lot shorter if he hadnt explained so much that which was all about nothing but it was alot better than Mountains beyond mountains.
Casey Taylor
Oct 30, 2015 Casey Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic, not because of great literary style but because of essential content. Every American student ought to read the main body of Douglas's biography. Especially insightful at points about American Christianity in antebellum America.
Robin Evans
Jun 27, 2008 Robin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing true story of a slave who fought to become a free man. Douglass tells his story in an unflinching manner, and you feel his pain. His vocabulary is impressive and makes it a difficult read at times. But totally worth the effort!
Szidonia
Dec 30, 2015 Szidonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read, more developed than his first memoir.
Nicholas
Apr 03, 2008 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mattr76
Mar 07, 2017 Mattr76 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When slavery was introduced into the Americas, I doubt anyone would have guessed the seeds for a great literary tradition would be planted along with the cotton and sugar cane. If Solomon Northup's 12 Years a Slave is the American Odyssey, then Frederick Douglass's autobiography is something akin to the works produced by the legendary Athenian philosophers. Simultaneously a straightforward, compelling biography and a rigorous humanist argument against slavery, this is an essential, thoroughly Am ...more
Daniel
Feb 23, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All too many Americans, alas, have only a limited knowledge of our history. While our fellows may recognize a few names, how many can identify James Madison as the principal author of the Constitution—or the reasons which compelled him (and many others, including George Washington) to meet in Philadelphia to draft it, six years after the British surrender at Yorktown? (And how many can identify that battle as the last significant conflict of the Revolutionary War?)

And just as we don’t know the h
...more
Robert
Aug 08, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass

Note: MBAMF is a sequel of sorts to Mr. Douglass’ better known autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”. I chose to read and review MBAMF as it is a more complete version of this inspiring American’s life story.

“I longed to have a future – a future with hope in it”.

“My Bondage and My Freedom” (published in 1855) is the second of three volumes of autobiography written by Frederick Douglas, a self-freed and sel
...more
Michelle T.
May 21, 2017 Michelle T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
wondered why this hadn't been required reading; should have read it sooner...like in high school...
none the less, very glad to have read this; wondering if anyone who has read his 'Narative of the life of Fredrick Douglas, an American Slave,' would suggest reading that also?

quote that struck me as powerful (about the condition of being under slavery)

"I longed to have a future - a future with hope in it. To be shut up entirely to the past and present, is abhorrent to the human mind; it is to the
...more
Kat Myers
Mar 14, 2017 Kat Myers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as powerful as his first book but monumental, nonetheless. This "sequel" includes his experiences in Europe and many of his speeches on civil rights. This is an American who deserves significantly more recognition in the history books, and his life and writings should be taught in high schools around the country. What a shame on our society that we don't insist that this tale be told.
Hannah Holton (Hill)
I wish I could give this book ten stars. What an incredibly wise and inspirational man.
E.t.
Jun 06, 2017 E.t. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
top drawer
Ellis Morning
Mar 14, 2017 Ellis Morning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing first-person account of slavery, escape to freedom, and all the tensions and conflicts surrounding the Civil War and abolitionist movements in the US. Sadly, a lot of it is still relevant to today's America. This should be required reading in school.
Katrina
Mar 11, 2017 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish Sarah Eden had more books.
Murray
Must reading for any American who cares about history and what can history can teach us about the future. This book is more illuminating than any work of fiction I’ve read about the subject of American slavery. Douglass reaches across the centuries and addresses us personally. His passion ignites ours. His logic and his intelligence are incisive. He is relevant for our age, for even, if at this point in history the details of our conflicts and issues differ, our human natures do not. Who, in lig ...more
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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
  • Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

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“The marriage institution cannot exist among slaves, and one sixth of the population of democratic America is denied it's privileges by the law of the land. What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of it's humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?” 50 likes
“A man who will enslave his own blood, may not be safely relied on for magnamity.” 17 likes
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