Frederick Douglass is best known as an orator and an abolitionist. A former slave, he knew first hand the suffering that not owning yourself can be. I've been told many times that this auto-biography is one that should be read, so, when presented with the chance to listen to it on audiobook, I did. The narrator had a calm, steady voice and it was quickly captivating.
covers from childhood until ten years after Douglass gained his
freedom. He describes thte time he spent with different slave owners,
his treatment while working for different people, and a little about
what he did once he escaped. A big part of this book was about his
desire to read and how he taught himself to do so.
encounters a lot of people in his life and unsurprisingly many were
cruel and harsh. What did surprise me was that he did say some of the
slave owners were decent in their treatment of him. I couldn't ever
imagine calling a slave owner decent and it shows that Douglass was
definitely a bigger person than me. To be so mild after having been a
slave is astonishing. He also describes the people that slavery made
cruel, like the woman who started to teach him to read only to become
the biggest opponent of slaves learning to read. I do confess that
there were so many people he mentioned, it was hard to keep track of
Douglass has a remarkable way with words and this
autobiography is as interesting as it is sad. But I wish there was
more of it! With the amount of detail that he put into describing how
he learned to read and the beatings he got (which are sections of the
book not for the faint of heart), I wish he had put just as much detail
into other things, like his marriage and his speeches after slavery. I
realize he wrote several other books, but since this one covered his
time right out of slavery, I expected there to be more description of
that eventful time in his life. It would have provided a big contrast
to his time spent as a slave. Even so, I did find the book extremely
informative and it was definitely more than what I learned in school.
And I'm glad for having read such a personal account of slavery. It is
a reminder that such evil shouldn't be permitted in the world.
A great man and one can see why he was so influential. His autobiography was quick, but moving.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
Read by Jonathan Reese