Book Review Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
3,765
View attachment 210965

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight published by Simon & Schuster 913 pages (2018) $37.50 Hardcover $14.99 Kindle
Note: I read the Kindle Edition

David Blight has written a wonderful biography of Frederick Douglass that is likely to be the standard against which other work on the great human rights advocate is judged for at least a generation. The first new full biography of Douglass since William McFeely's 1991 book, this is a massive work of prodigious research that is coupled with straightforward writing. The book covers all of the years of Douglass's life and all aspects of his long career. It also offers an unvarnished account of the Great Man's private life without descending into the salacious.

I have read one of Douglass's autobiographies and McFeely's biography. I have also visited some sites associated with Douglass's life in Maryland and in New England and New York. While I am hardly a Douglass devotee, I have more familiarity with his life than most readers. Still, I was surprised by some of what Blight brings to light, and persuaded by many of Blights's conclusions about Douglass's life.

David Blight is a Yale professor and this book accords with scholarly standards, but it avoids the jargon and exclusivity of some academic history. This is a book for all intelligent readers interested in the Civil War and Reconstruction, African American History, and Abolition Studies. It is also perfect for those of us who like to see how people capable of great deeds on the national stage dealt with the everyday domestic trials that we all encounter.

Because of its length this review will be posted in sections.
I kind of wish the book had descended into the salacious, at least a little. The part where he had his girlfriend living in the same house with his wife seemed very juicy,
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
29,543
Location
Long Island, NY
I kind of wish the book had descended into the salacious, at least a little. The part where he had his girlfriend living in the same house with his wife seemed very juicy,
The book is unequivocal in relation to one long-time extra-marital affair, but I am not sure of how much documentation there is of the details. The book does suggest the impact on Douglass's wife.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
3,765
Read it. Tired of the white guilt stuff being thrown in at the end of books like this. Pass.
Read it. Tired of the white guilt stuff being thrown in at the end of books like this. Pass.
Not sure what you are talking about. I read the book and did not notice that it was marred by any white guilt stuff. Blight is, of course, a very careful writer who always exhibits the highest standards of professionalism.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
29,543
Location
Long Island, NY
From the review by Frank Williams in the Civil War Book Review:

David W. Blight’s ten-year effort in researching and writing this biography was time well spent. This book adds a dimension to Douglass’s story that previously had not been explored. Most compelling is the portrait of the relationship between Douglass and Lincoln, which reveals depth, honesty, and mutual respect and admiration.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
2,259
Pat. Thanks for posting this very interesting book review of Blight's book on Douglass. I have not purchased this book yet but I certainly will be buying it in the next several days. Keep up the great work. I certainly appreciate your very fine efforts. David.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
29,543
Location
Long Island, NY
Pat. Thanks for posting this very interesting book review of Blight's book on Douglass. I have not purchased this book yet but I certainly will be buying it in the next several days. Keep up the great work. I certainly appreciate your very fine efforts. David.
Hi David, I appreciate your kind words. It is good to hear from you. If you read the book, let us know what you think.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top