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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely required reading.
Anyone who wishes to be considered at all educated in the history of the United States MUST read this book. The period of this history is absolutely critical to an understanding of the country both before and after that time, as well, obviously, as during that time. And without reading the account of this great American of his experiences, one can not, truly, understand...
Published on Dec 14 2001 by James Yanni

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3.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfull inspiring book
This is a wonderfull inspiring book that shows the true nature of the human spirit, yet is completely ruined if you are forced to read it as part of a class assighnment. A class structure is completely nonconducive to enjoying this wonderful narative. Although I believe everyone should read this book; forcing a student to read it in a structured time frame is as much...
Published on April 14 1999


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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely required reading., Dec 14 2001
By 
James Yanni (Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
Anyone who wishes to be considered at all educated in the history of the United States MUST read this book. The period of this history is absolutely critical to an understanding of the country both before and after that time, as well, obviously, as during that time. And without reading the account of this great American of his experiences, one can not, truly, understand that time period.
Granted, there will be those who will argue, "But why should we need to read an anti-slavery tract; there's no one alive now who would argue in favor of slavery, or deny that it was a great evil. To read a book whose primary purpose was to convince people of what is now considered obvious is pointless." But the same argument could be used to apply to reading a biography of George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. Most of the issues that were important to them are currently decided, and decided in their favor. Yet it is still considered neccessary for an educated American to have at least a passing idea of the history of their lives.
The same is true of Frederick Douglass. The man risked his life for freedom, just as surely as did Patrick Henry, or any of the founding fathers, and his history is just as much a part of this country as theirs is; further, it is worth seeing just how literate a man born in slavery, not only self-taught, but self-taught on the sly, against every effort of his oppressors to stifle his education, can be. His facility for language is frankly better than 90% of modern Americans of any color, in spite of virtually universal education. He was a great man, and deserves to be recognized as such.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A watershed in slave narratives, Sept. 6 2001
By 
Patrick Mcgranaghan (Midwest, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
This is an excellent narrative from a slave of the highest acumen. This books details the oppression that Douglass went through before he finally escaped to freedom.
Douglass wrote several autobiographies, but this is the most read. This narrative is in a genre that was popular with abolitionists in the pre-war north. The reader should note that most of the narratives written at that time had a rigid caste, so Douglass' narrative is not as original as it might seem. In his later autobiographies he contradicts some important events in this narrative. However, with that said, it is still a book of the highest order. I gave the book 5 stars because it is truly a masterpiece, in both writing and theme, and therefore should be read by all who can. I've recommended this book to my friends and they all agree. The Dover edition is only about 80 pages long, so it can easily be read in one or two sittings.
One more caveat; if you are interested in learning about how Douglass escaped to freedom, this is not the book. I was a little disappointed because Douglass did not give any details about his escape to New York. The book was published in pre-war America, and he could not risk exposing those who had helped him to the general public. Nevertheless, this book is gripping and will hold you till the very end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all members of the human race., Sept. 21 2000
By 
J. Sexton (Joplin, Mo USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
I believe that this autobiography can best be summed up by a quote in the middle of the book: "You have seen how a man becomes a slave. You will now see how a slave becomes a man."
As a small child, Douglass overhears his master berating his mistress because she was trying to teach the boy to read. Douglass realizes that his master wants to keep him ignorant. From that point on he vows to become the best man he can possibly become, and to become his own Master. His challenges as a child are simpler; tricking other children into playing Alphabet games so that he may slowly learn to read. As he becomes older, his challenges become more complex and dangerous; dealing with the Slave Breaker, a man that uses brutality to condition slaves into complete submission. When it suits his needs, Douglass allows his oppressors to believe his is defeated, but he never allows anyone to take his humanity or dignity. The reader travels with Douglass on his quest from the moment he is separated from his mother as an infant, to his days beginning in the abolitionists movement.
It is unfortunate that Douglass was unable to write of the details of his final escape from slavery because he was still worried about exposing those who assisted him in his flight.
Douglas also does an excellent job of demonstrating how slavery is also destructive to the spirit of those who practice slavery. We meet not only the Master and the Slave Breaker, but we also meet kind and loving women who eventually become hardened and cruel after being forced to accept their fellow man as only chattel.
Everyone should read this short book at least once in their lives. It is important to experience a first hand account of the past evils of our society. It is equally important to experience a first hand account of one man's triumph over such evils. For every black mark described, Douglass paints a ray of hope. The book is also very well written. And for a historical period piece that was written 160 years ago, it stands up remarkably as a captivating page turner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A damning Tale of Evil in America, Oct. 19 1999
This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
This is a difficult book to read because the evil that slavery entails. The oppression of anyone is an evil that must be overcome. Frederick Douglass displayed a remarkable courage in learning to read and write to finally overcome the horror of slavery. I appreciate his observation on the religious hypocrisy of the South. It was telling that religious slave owners were always the worst. Of course since religion helped breed slavery in America this really should not come as any surprise. I have great admiration for the founders of this country but I also feel that the evil and hypocrisy of slavery should be exposed. It is an ugly passage in American history that must be addressed. This book should be read by high school kids in every high school in America--make that every American period. Frederick Douglass deserves to be recognized as a great American and this book is essential reading for any American.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all americans, Sept. 24 1999
This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
Everyone in America who has at least a high school diploma has a vague sense of who Frederick Douglass was, and maybe something about his connection to the Underground Railroad. But few have probably read this book. It is truly a classic, and like many classics, gets ignored. This is a powerful book which no brief summary can do justice. Anyone interested in the antebellum South will find this book fascinating. Douglass's narrative is gripping, and his moral struggles are equally arresting. It is difficult for us at the end of the 20th century to believe that such attitudes and practices were once prevelant in an entire culture. It is for this reason, if for no other, that this book should remain relevant.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfull inspiring book, April 14 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
This is a wonderfull inspiring book that shows the true nature of the human spirit, yet is completely ruined if you are forced to read it as part of a class assighnment. A class structure is completely nonconducive to enjoying this wonderful narative. Although I believe everyone should read this book; forcing a student to read it in a structured time frame is as much an example of savagery and inhumanity as slavery itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Frederick Douglass is a "must read"., Nov. 6 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
ABC, NBC, CBS will never be able to accurately describe what's wrong in a world of unrestrained corporate power. Why would a former slave find such a world worse than slavery? Read Frederick Douglass' account of his journey to Ireland and you'll understand why. Frederick Douglass should be read by anyone interested in democracy, freedom, or equality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars compare with Dr. King, July 18 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Paperback)
Compare this book with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"--the parallels are ineresting and informative.
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (Paperback - April 13 1995)
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