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Monday, June 13, 2011

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (audiobook) by Frederick Douglas

An American Classic

4.5 hours
Narrated by Jonathan Reese
Published by Tantor Media

Frederick Douglass wrote three autobiographies during his life. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave, written in 1845, is, perhaps, the most famous. The others were My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881, revised 1892).

Written as a response to those that doubted that such an intelligent and well-spoken man could have ever been a slave, Narrative tells about the early life of Frederick Douglass (b. 1818 - d.1895), how he learned to read and write and how he acquired the skills necessary to escape and prosper in the North after he escaped.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) 
as a young man
Douglass was a young man when this book was published (aged 27) so there is not a lot of detail about his life as a free man (with the caveat of being an escaped slave living the constant fear of being kidnapped and returned to slavery).

Douglass spends considerable time detailing the degradations and brutalities of slave life - insufficient food, poor clothing, fear of being separated from family and friends. Random brutalities dumped upon the slaves fill the book and create an uncomfortable but necessary look at what was euphemistically called the peculiar institution.

Understandably, the more education Douglass acquires, the more miserable he becomes. Douglass is especially intolerant of Christians who twist Christianity into contortions to justify slavery. His arguments thunder like an Old Testament prophet as he uses Christianity's own arguments, often straight from scripture, to demolish their positions.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is not only an American classic, but is informative and entertainingly told.

My copy of the audiobook came with an embedded e-book that contains the text of the book in PDF format.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Reviewed on June 13, 2011.

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