Book Review–Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass


This is the 9th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass
First Published 1844


Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.

No book except perhaps Uncle Tom’s Cabin had as powerful an impact on the abolitionist movement as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. But while Stowe wrote about imaginary characters, Douglass’s book is a record of his own remarkable life.Born a slave in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland, Douglass taught himself to read and write. In 1845, seven years after escaping to the North, he published Narrative, the first of three autobiographies. This book calmly but dramatically recounts the horrors and the accomplishments of his early years—the daily, casual brutality of the white masters; his painful efforts to educate himself; his decision to find freedom or die; and his harrowing but successful escape.

An astonishing orator and a skillful writer, Douglass became a newspaper editor, a political activist, and an eloquent spokesperson for the civil rights of African Americans. He lived through the Civil War, the end of slavery, and the beginning of segregation. He was celebrated internationally as the leading black intellectual of his day, and his story still resonates in ours.


My fiance’ has been wanting me to read this book since he first read it in college. I decided to read it for Black History month. I may also read another he has suggested.

This was a hard book to read in one setting. While the writing was quite good, it sometimes came off as dry. There’s also many things that occurred in the author’s life that turned my stomach.

While Frederick admits that he did not have it as bad as others, this narrative is still a great read. While horrific, it should show readers how terrible Slavery was.

Despite the horrific events in this book, it was also inspiring. I loved how Frederick refused to give up and how hard he fought to educate himself. For he learned that education was one key element to freedom.

The only thing, aside from the sometimes dry writing, that could have been better about this was for it to be longer. I also had a hard time keeping up with the slave owners, but perhaps it was because there were so many.

An inspiring read that also gives a good look into what slaves had to endure, and how often religion was used to justify it.






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