Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America” as Want to Read:
Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Octavius Valentine Catto was an orator who shared stages with Frederick Douglass, a second baseman on Philadelphia's best black baseball team, a teacher at the city's finest black school and an activist who fought in the state capital and on the streets for equal rights. With his racially-charged murder, the nation lost a civil rights pioneer - one who risked his life a ce ...more
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published August 13th 2010 by Temple University Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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 Tasting Freedom, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tasting Freedom

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  48 ratings  ·  14 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America
This book really is not, despite its claims, a biography of Octavius Catto. Sure, there are multiple pages devoted to him, but I'd say that at most 20 per cent of the book is about Catto.

So what is the book about? I'd say it tells the story of African Americans in the Northern United States during the middle decades of the 19th Century. It has a primary, not not exclusive, focus on events in Philadelphia. It's a worthy subject for a book, especially the accounts of the abolition movement, the f
Charles Stephen
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recent history texts of The American Civil Rights Movement have tended to roll back its timeline before 1954 and expand its cast of heroes. Well, this book is about a civil rights leader whose murder came six years after the assassination of a great American President. Oh, you might think, another book about MLK and JFK. Biddle and Dubin are writing about the death of Octavius Valentine Catto in Philadelphia in 1871, six years after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Expertly researched, this book
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Biddle and Dubin, two journalists, wrote this book which explores the battles in Philadelphia between the multiracial abolitionists and their opponents in Irish diaspora and Democratic Party allies. The book, as others have noted, is not just about Octavius Catto but about the multigenerational effort to bring about the abolition of slavery and bring about full participation of Black Americans as citizens in the middle 19th century. The narrative goes roughly from the 1840s-1871, ending with the ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an important addition to the history of racism, the Civil War and Civil Rights in the US. While the title suggests that the book focuses solely on the life and work of Octavius Catto, it is much more than that. It really is a history of the black struggle for freedom and basic human rights in the decades leading up the Civil War and the first 10 years after the war, leading up to the passage of the 15th Amendment which gave the vote to African Americans. The first 100 pages focus on ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Octavius catto is a person who helped with black getting the right to vote. He died on Election Day. He got shot by Frank Kelly. His whole life is very interesting to read. Not that many people know about him.
Mary Durben
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Much good information here about a number of less well known figures in the fight for civil rights, including Octavius Catto, but may be too detailed for some. It seemed to take a long time to get to the story of Octavius, and a long time to finish the book.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written overview of many lesser-known but important pioneers of the first civil rights movement. Well researched but a slow read.
Lisa Tracy
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Tasting Freedom" by Dan Biddle and Murray Dubin is an indelible portrait of a man whose life spanned the last days of legal slavery in this country and the beginning of hard-won freedom. It was in that quest for freedom, on the streets of Philadelphia, that Octavius Catto lost his life. "Tasting Freedom" is a riveting slice of American history, beautifully told and offering very valuable background for the struggle for equality that continues today. Bravo, Messrs. Biddle and Dubin! Lisa Tracy ...more
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
A very interesting and detailed book centered around the people who fought against slavery and oppression in the early 1800s. While the book title focuses specifically on Octavius Catto, the reader is introduced to many, many fascinating people. Almost too many--adding a list of people mentioned in the book would have been helpful in keeping track of everyone. At 500+ pages, the book offers a detailed look at life for African-Americans in the early 19th century but was perhaps a bit too detailed ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Another helpful tile in the grand and complex mosaic of African American History. It also had personal resonance because Catto was friend of my great great grandmother and the book includes poem he wrote to her. My cousin Lillie is also interviewed in the book.
JoAnn Jordan
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book on the civil rights movement of the 1800's. The history is told in very interesting prose.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the 1800's and especially those interested in Afro-American history. I found it riveting.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: abandoned
Very good book but I just couldn't finish it. Maybe someday. Highly recommended for folks who want to learn more about the African-American freedom struggle in the 19th century. ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Very detailed, at times repetitive, but I learned a great deal about a part of our nation's history - and the people involved in it - that our history textbooks have neglected. ...more
Mark Moore
rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2016
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2020
connie ragsdale
rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2018
Daryl Grigsby
Aug 05, 2011 is currently reading it
unheralded fighter for human dignity and black self-determination

Lynn Jackson
rated it it was amazing
Dec 09, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 21, 2020
Laura Weck
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2015
rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2018
rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2011
Steve McFarland
rated it it was amazing
Mar 30, 2018
Gabrielle Corsaro
rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2020
rated it really liked it
Apr 04, 2012
Michael Dreimiller
rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2019
rated it liked it
Jul 07, 2013
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Run
  • Split Tooth
  • Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink
  • The Socialist Awakening: What's Different Now About the Left
  • The Russian Debutante's Handbook
  • White Noise
  • Richardson Dilworth: Last of the Bare Knuckled Aristocrats
  • Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society
  • Bluets
  • The Argonauts
  • City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
  • The Corrections
  • The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection
  • Philadelphia Fire
  • From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
  • When Is the Digital in Architecture?
  • To the Lighthouse
  • 10:04
See similar books…

News & Interviews

  Melissa Albert burst onto the YA scene (and catapulted into readers' hearts) with her 2018 debut The Hazel Wood. This darkly fantastical...
80 likes · 5 comments