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Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics) - Softcover

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9780143039242: Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics)
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This fascinating autobiography describes one woman's life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln's White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, a seamstress and dressmaker who was only a few years removed from being a 'slave for life', we see historical figures and events ranging from the Lincolns in their private chambers to the return to Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital.

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Review:
"Keckley provides a contrast between her life as a slave and her life as freed dressmaker. From her early years to her later friendship with Mary Todd Lincoln, Keckley's life is the pattern of a self-made woman as she buys her own freedom and becomes a friend to one of the most influential couples in history." -- Civil War "[Keckley's] unusual memoir offers a rare view of the formal and informal networks that African Americans established among themselves, as well as an intimate perspective of the Lincoln family... Heavily illustrated with eighty-six photographs." -- Documentary Editing "Lizzie Keckley in those Civil War years was privy to the most intimate conversations of the White House living quarters. You will never find a life of Abraham Lincoln in which her remembrances are not extensively quoted." -- Gene Smith, American Legacy
About the Author:

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born in slavery in Virginia around 1818 and purchased her freedom in 1855. Keckley's memoir Behind the Scenes was published in 1868. The book included revelations about Mary Lincoln's private life, and, feeling betrayed, the former First Lady shunned Keckley. Her dressmaking business declined, and she died in poverty in 1907 at the Home for Destitute Women and Children in Washington, one of the institutions she had helped to found.


William L. Andrews, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt (1980) and To Tell a Free Story: the First Century of Afro-American Autobiography 1760-1865 (1986). He is the editor of more than thirty books on African American Literature.

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  • PublisherPenguin Classics
  • Publication date2005
  • ISBN 10 0143039245
  • ISBN 13 9780143039242
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages208
  • Rating
    3.86 avg rating
    ( 3,733 ratings by Goodreads )

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. This fascinating autobiography describes one woman's life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln's White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, a seamstress and dressmaker who was only a few years removed from being a 'slave for life', we see historical figures and events ranging from the Lincolns in their private chambers to the return to Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital. Originally published in 1868awhen it was attacked as an aindecent booka authored by a atraitorous eavesdropperaa"Behind the Scenes" is the story of Elizabeth Keckley, who began her life as a slave and became a privileged witness to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Keckley bought her freedom at the age of thirty-seven and set up a successful dressmaking business in Washington, D.C. She became modiste to Mary Todd Lincoln and in time her friend and confidante, a relationship that continued after Lincolnas assassination. In documenting that friendshipaoften using the First Ladyas own lettersa"Behind the Scenes" fuses the slave narrative with the political memoir. It remains extraordinary for its poignancy, candor, and historical perspective. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780143039242

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