Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America

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9780060524302: Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America

An important book of epic scope on America's first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement featuring Harriet Tubman, the brave leader of the Underground Railroad 

The civil war brought to a climax the country's bitter division. But the beginnings of slavery's denouement can be traced to a courageous band of ordinary Americans, black and white, slave and free, who joined forces to create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a movement that occupies as romantic a place in the nation's imagination as the Lewis and Clark expedition. The true story of Harriet Tubamn and the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country's westward expansion arose a fierce clash of values that was nothing less than a war for the country's soul. Not since the American Revolution had the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only challenged prevailing mores but also subverted federal law.

Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman, soon to be the first African American featured on American currency. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country's first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.

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About the Author:

Fergus M. Bordewich is the author of several books, including Bound for Canaan, Killing the White Man's Indian, and My Mother's Ghost, a memoir. The son of a national civil rights leader for Native Americans, he was introduced early in life to racial politics. As a journalist, he has written widely on political and cultural subjects in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, American Heritage, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Reader's Digest, and many other publications. He was born in New York City, and now lives in New York's Hudson River Valley with his wife and daughter.

From AudioFile:

To many Americans, the movement of slaves from the South to freedom in the North or Canada was an exercise of morality in action. But the true story is far more complex, showing flawed people sometimes doing good things and others acting out of faith doing great things. The author portrays well-known figures, such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Rankin, Levi Coffin, and John Brown. But he also describes several less well-known ones who each in their own way made the enterprise work. This personalization of story makes the nonfiction work sound almost like a novel. The author does the narration fairly well, but he sometimes runs out of wind at the end of long or emotional passages. R.C.G. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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