Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

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Author: L. Diane Barnes
Date: Dec. 2019
From: The Journal of Civil War Era(Vol. 9, Issue 4)
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 948 words
Lexile Measure: 1520L

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Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. By David W. Blight. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018. Pp. 888. Cloth, $37.50.)

David W. Blight dons his public intellectual hat in this long-awaited new biography of Frederick Douglass, one of the nineteenth century's most important human rights activists. The first major biography of Douglass in more than a generation, Blight's book was ten years in the making, and well worth the wait. The last major Douglass biography, William S. McFeely's Frederick Douglass (1991), overreached in interpretation and introduced a host of minor and unnecessary inaccuracies into the canon of Douglass scholarship. Blight's volume adds to other recent works in providing a major corrective to the historiography dominated by McFeely and others who relied almost exclusively on Douglass's own writings, especially his three autobiographies. This mellifluous biography joins Women in the World of Frederick Douglass (2017), by Leigh Fought, and The Lives of Frederick Douglass (2016), a close read of Douglass's own words by Robert Levine, to demonstrate that there is still much to learn about the Lion of Anacostia. By incorporating the copious correspondence surrounding Douglass's circle of reformers, friends, family, and even critics, Blight and other recent Douglass scholars are opening a new window into the life and experiences of this oft-studied American.

Blight's hefty volume offers a considerate portrayal of Douglass's "life and times," contextualizing his familiar life story in the larger history of the century in which...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A607937485