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The Confessions of Nat Turner: and Related Documents
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The Confessions of Nat Turner: and Related Documents

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Careful study of the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831 reveals much about master, slaves, and the relationship between them in the antebellum South. The central document in this volume — Nat Turner's confession follwing the rebellion in Virginia — is supported by newspaper articles, trial transcripts, and excerpts from the diary of Virginia governor John Floyd.
Paperback, 148 pages
Published February 15th 1996 by Bedford/St. Martin's
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Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political, nat
I'm not sure how people are reviewing this to give it 3 stars -- they don't like the story? The style? The fact that Turner's words were recorded by a racist? All of that is historical fact; this isn't a book that can be read really as an enjoy/don't enjoy. This is a collection of primary source material, and as such is fascinating and informative. Greenburg has a short introduction which provides some important historical context (recent events, white v. free black v. slave population, etc.) an ...more
Hermione Daguin
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gets more interesting each time I read it.
Zachary F.
The Nat Turner Rebellion is one of those moments in history which resists any attempt to impose moral clarity upon it. In his own day, Turner was demonized as a madman, a bloodthirsty cultist who brainwashed a band of his peers into carrying out his own senseless, violent whims. Now we're more likely to lionize him: in Nate Parker's 2016 film The Birth of a Nation, Turner is (apparently--I have yet to see it) depicted as a sort of abolitionist superhero, committing violence only when it is neces ...more
Hannah Sunshineflower
Though some may find the legal language of several primary sources dry, the subject matter itself is compelling. Little documentation of the Nat Turner rebellion survives, in part due to efforts by the white elite to keep it hush-hush to preserve the institution of slavery in antebellum Virginia. Additionally, little is known of the details of Nat's life prior to the revolt besides a confession partially turned fiction by the lawyer who represented him, Thomas Gray. The most telling aspect of th ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
2017 Reading Challenge - A book with an unreliable narrator

"The introductory essay serves several purposes. Overall, it places "The Confessions of Nat Turner" and related documents in the larger historical contexts suggested by the best recent scholarship. It also alerts students to the difficulties associated with interpreting the "Confessions" as a historical document. Given the circumstances of its creation and publication, it is a source which needs to be read and analyzed with extreme care.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Black/African American Lit. Readers, Americans, Slave Narrative enthusiasts
Recommended to Pronks by: Professor
Shelves: non-fiction, poc
As an extremely important moment in United States history, particularly during that of the era of enslaved black people, "The Confessions of Nat Turner" describes many of the overarching themes and motifs of enslaved narratives, while displaying extreme physical and mental agency that is not widely known or taught by modern people to have happened.

The history of Turner's revolt is incredibly rich with power and violence, something that his confessions do not skimp on, though they are peppered wi
Joleen Lowe
Jul 22, 2009 added it
Recommends it for: students majoring in social sciences
. The historical context provided in the introduction was very significant to the reader. It gave great insight on the economic, demographic, and geographic features of the time and events that took place. Most importantly, it provided the reader with the knowledge that these events were journaled by racist white men who were mostly pro-slavery.
The documents surrounding the event included excerpts from the governor’s diary, newspaper articles relating to the event, an essay arguing against the
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Amazing. So interesting. The history nerd in me just loves this fascinating collection of primary documents.

I don't think we have fully grasped the impacts that slavery had on our society. To see the words that were produced at the time of this rebellion is just illuminating - we try to explain and justify so many wrongs today; and people were just as adept at explaining an justifying SLAVERY previously.

This one is a really quick read, and it is just so fascinating. I recommend it for everyone
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Hit me with A POW. Slave revolts, cool. That's about all I thought (apart from the brutality that came with Nat Turner's revolt!!!) I don't like the fact that some white man is writing on behalf of Nat turner (for how trustworthy is he) and that we readers can clearly see how the writer portrays Turner to be like.
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it
An important book--it's an account of Nat Turner's slave rebellion, billed as a "confession" by Turner from his jail cell. It was, however, written by a white, pro-slavery Southerner, who very much distorted Turner's story, and attempted to make Turner look like a monster, not a man fighting for his freedom.
Kade Worry
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
The last of history's required reading for the semester. The history of the slave rebellion and Nat Turner's confessions made for a very interesting read. The latter half of the book the "related documents" was a painful labor to read. Various newspapers with different stories of the same event, court summaries, diary entries not much excitement in 1830's Virginia lawyer speak.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
How am I supposed to rate The Confessions of Nat Turner on a scale of how much I like it? This text is an important historical document, but I don't want to reduce it to how entertaining or pleasurable Nat Turner was to read.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography
A good primary source read! I appreciated how a diverse selection of documents was included with only minimal opinion added by the editor, leaving me to draw my own conclusions about just what really happened and why.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
Was an assigned reading in my college history class. Was interesting but gruesome and ridiculous.
Aug 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Pretty gruesome, and some very weird sexual tones.
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Reading this, you just wish you could have been there in the jail cell as Gray interviewed Turner and listen to his unmediated account.
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