Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America
The true story of the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country's westward expansion arose a clash of values that evolved into a fierce fight for nothing less than th ...more
Here are all the stories you know: Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup (the Twelve Years a Slave guy), John Brown. The slave escape that inspired Uncle Tom's Cabin and the story that inspired Beloved.
Here also are impo ...more
Some standout points for me: the connections between the Underground Railroad and the beginnings of the women's rights movement; the importance of Can ...more
This is what history books should read like. Moving and expertly told, you get an immediate sense of what challenges the underground railroad was up against, and find yourself rooting fervently for the slaves bound for freedom.
"The underground was the greatest movement of civil disobedience since the American Revolution, engaging thousands of citizens in the active subv ...more
The Underground Railroad was, by its very nature, a silent, loose-limbed organization. This fog of anonymity may explain why, despite its critical role in American history, historians have attempted so few chronicles of it. Bordewich, author of My Mother's Ghost (2000) and Killing the White Man's Indian (1997), was undeterred by the challenge. If he can't rescue all names from anonymity, he succeeds in laying bare the heroic spirit of the escapees' struggle. He also breaks "the hard sheen of myt...more
Interesting fact: the underground railroad predates railroads in the country. Once the railroad (steel and metal kind) became something used as transportation the language became tied to the movement o ...more
Not the same as a collection of the (nebulous) years it existed, nor the same as the (nebulous) people involved in transporting the (nebulous) people it transported, the underground railroad is nevertheless a pretty well defined concept. Well, so is pi.
Bordewich defines ...more
-In NC I believe a white man bought a slave and set him free and then bought the slaves son and gave the son to the father so that the father ...more
Every good thing I'd heard about this book that came so highly recommended was amply justified. Historical figures I'd always admired, it turns out, had their flaws. The descriptions and explanations I found in this book helped me grasp the confluence of civil disobedience into which the abolitionist movement—and by association, the underground itself—morphed. I never would have thought I'd be so anxious to know what happened next to people I knew going in were long dead. No wadin ...more
Worth a read!
Though the Underground Railroad is one of the touchstones of American collective memory, there's been no comprehensive, accessible history of the secret movement that delivered more than 100, ...more