Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts” as Want to Read:
The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  350 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In the winter of 1852, a group of Philadelphia abolitionists dedicated to assisting runaway slaves in their flight to freedom formed a new assistance group to be part of the Underground Railroad—the General Vigilance Committee. William Still, himself a son of slaves, was named its secretary and executive director. Deeply moved by the stories of the fugitive slaves he helpe ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2007 by Dover Publications (first published June 1872)
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 Underground Railroad, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Underground Railroad

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 10, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: kindle-book
This book is FREE on kindle right now
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very glad to make an acquaintance with this huge collection of slave escape narratives, in first-hand accounts. It's not an easy read. It took me a concentrated couple of hours just to figure out how it is organized. And the sheer number of human stories is overwhelming!

William Still was an excellent writer for his time and a very literate writer for any time. That said, his sentence structure is in the formal Victorian style that makes reading George Eliot or Henry James challenging.

Andrew Anderson
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This begs one simple question; and we were the ones considered savages and in need of saving? Wow! Thanks to those who assisted us in seeking the freedom that God intended for all men, regardless of race. Still applicable today.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Profound source material for the operation of the Underground Railroad, especially through Philadelphia. William Still was on the Vigilance Committee in that city and welcomed many of those escaping slavery. From each arrival he took a brief account of their adventures on The Road, as well as their hardship under slavery.

Still's writing makes use of the abolitionist rhetoric of his day with such phrases as "the no-pay system" and "seeker of Freedom". The language can be challenging because it i
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My homeschooled daughter is interested in the Underground Railroad, so we checked this book out of the public library to use for "real life" discussions. The letters and stories are so fascinating, and so sad, at times. What bravery extended for the welfare of another soul!
Royce Ratterman
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for personal research - found this book's contents helpful and inspiring.
A good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent history of the Underground Railroad, with details of slaves' escapes.
Peter Michael
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This 1972 book, still in print, contains a large portion of all known first-hand accounts of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and is invaluable in research.
Oct 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
First Hand Accounts - excellent reading.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First published in 1872, the 2007 edition I read is a selection of first hand interviews Mr. Still conducted with escaped slaves as they arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1860. Many of the stories are augmented by newspaper accounts. There are also trial transcripts and accounts of the heroic actions by members of the Under Ground Rail Road and a copy of the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850 and the Organization of the Vigilance Committee. One aspect I missed was an overall picture of the struc ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(extensive!) Notes written by a member of the Vigilance Committee as he welcomed each runaway slave to Philadelphia and sent them on to Canada. Much more effective than all the fiction I've read about slavery in communicating the absolute inhumanity of this period. But also, heart-warming to read about the people, mostly white, who put themselves in danger to help runaways.' Always look for the people helping '.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. Not an easy read because the subject matter is so difficult. Love a book that makes you think and feel!!
Lynette  Lee (J.Kirby)
This book is a compilation of letters, interviews, and other primary sources of Underground Railroad conductors, abolitionist, and fugitive slaves. Here, American slavery is brought to life. These accounts give testament of how slaves were treated, why they chose to runaway, and how they make there way up North. Furthermore, the conductors tell their stories of how they aided the fugitive slaves, the risk that they took in doing so, and how they fought day and night to rid the nation of oppressi ...more
Sarah Crawford
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a rather long but still very interesting book. It centers on a Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia and what they did to help slaves escape from the South. (A source I read said about 100,000 slaves eventaully escaped from the South but that's out of around 4 million that were there in the first place.)

The book consists of basic information and very specific information related to specific slaves that escaped and came through the committee's work. Some of the major points in the book incl
Jamie Casey
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After a hurricane shortened our vacation at the beach, we went on a little side trip and experienced first hand the lands and marshes and waters navigated by Freedom Seekers. Although some travelled even further from the South our tour only began in Cambridge, Maryland. What an amazing experience coupled with materials we found at the Cambridge Welcome Center, an audio tour and then to read these real life accounts of so many brave and undaunted souls. How cruel humans can be to their own kind n ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
p. 182 has picture ((Phil: Porter and Cotes, 1872) edition) of Anne Maria Weems. Her daring escape from slavery disguised as an Abolitionist's driver is heroic, and should be remembered and taught as an example of cooperation to be emulated.

William-James-MEOW Date: 6.8.12,014 H.E.
Sissy Van Dyke
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
I'm sorry, Anne Frank, it is impossible to read this book, or your own history, and continue to believe "that people are really good at heart."
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
A bit overwhelming at the only about a half dozen of the stories...what I did read was interesting.
dorothy anderson
rated it liked it
Aug 08, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2017
Cynthia L
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2014
Amy Wenger
rated it liked it
Sep 07, 2014
Michelle Ayers
rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2016
Rachel Anders
rated it it was ok
Sep 19, 2015
Lula LaGrange
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2014
Rikki Cook
rated it liked it
Nov 25, 2015
Tony Jefferson Jr.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 25, 2014
rated it it was ok
May 21, 2014
Janet Ollman Blackmer
rated it it was amazing
Dec 14, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves
  • Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement
  • Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Freedom
  • American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt
  • Paul Robeson
  • The Lighthouse Stevensons: The extraordinary story of the building of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
  • The Negro Problem
  • Women Artists
  • Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad
  • The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Narrative
  • Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad
  • The Negro's Civil War
  • The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal
  • Levittown: Two Extraordinary Families, One Ruthless Tycoon, and the Fight for the American Dream
  • Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903
  • The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America
  • Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent: How Daring Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union During the Civil War
William Still is youngest child of Levin and Sidney Steel. He lived as a slave with his parents and seventeen brothers and sisters. Levin, Still's father escaped slavery in Maryland for freedom in New Jersey. Still's mother escaped later with the children, changing the family name to Still. She changed her first name to Charity.

When Still was 23, he left the family farm in New Jersey for Philadelp
More about William Still...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99