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A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation

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Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post–Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No Mo Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post–Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No More, a major new addition to the canon of American history. Handed down through family and friends, these narratives tell gripping stories of escape: Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of the occupying Union troops. David W. Blight magnifies the drama and significance by prefacing the narratives with each man’s life history. Using a wealth of genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the north, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Turnage and Washington, we find history at its most intimate, portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom. In A Slave No More, the untold stories of two ordinary men take their place at the heart of the American experience.


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Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post–Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No Mo Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post–Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men who wrote them, join that exclusive group with the publication of A Slave No More, a major new addition to the canon of American history. Handed down through family and friends, these narratives tell gripping stories of escape: Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of the occupying Union troops. David W. Blight magnifies the drama and significance by prefacing the narratives with each man’s life history. Using a wealth of genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the north, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Turnage and Washington, we find history at its most intimate, portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom. In A Slave No More, the untold stories of two ordinary men take their place at the heart of the American experience.

30 review for A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Though lacking the depth and description one might hope to garner from a firsthand account of slavery and escape, A Slave No More... still captures the essence and importance of these men's tales. Blight introduces at exhaustive length the two slave's narratives, expounding with such great insight that it makes the roughly written narratives from the mouths of the uneducated slaves almost redundant when you actually get around to reading them. However, his explanations go a long way to enliven a Though lacking the depth and description one might hope to garner from a firsthand account of slavery and escape, A Slave No More... still captures the essence and importance of these men's tales. Blight introduces at exhaustive length the two slave's narratives, expounding with such great insight that it makes the roughly written narratives from the mouths of the uneducated slaves almost redundant when you actually get around to reading them. However, his explanations go a long way to enliven and enlighten the text, helping the modern day reader gather more understanding of the times and circumstances. Very much worth the reading. Highly recommended as a companion to studies of Frederick Douglas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    robin friedman

    Two Narratives Of Emancipation Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are among a handful of former slaves in the Old South who wrote famous narratives of their lives in slavery and their ultimate escape to freedom. It is a rare and important event to find additional first-person narratives that document the efforts of slaves to become free. The noted historian David Blight had the good fortune to become aware of two such narratives which had previously been held close by the families of their aut Two Narratives Of Emancipation Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs are among a handful of former slaves in the Old South who wrote famous narratives of their lives in slavery and their ultimate escape to freedom. It is a rare and important event to find additional first-person narratives that document the efforts of slaves to become free. The noted historian David Blight had the good fortune to become aware of two such narratives which had previously been held close by the families of their authors. Blight has published these accounts in his recent book "A Slave no More" (2007), together with background information on the manuscripts, a discussion of the lives of the authors following their escapes from slavery, and a brief history of Emancipation during and following the Civil War. The attraction of this book lies more in the narratives than in Blight's commentary. The narratives were composed by John Washington (1838 -- 1918) and Wallace Turnage (1846-1916). Washington and Turnage both discuss their lives in slavery and the factors impelling them to make their escape. The narratives do not extend to the subsequent lives of the narrators in freedom. The narratives are written in a non-literary style which nevertheless have great power from their very simplicity. Neither man was writing for the public. Their accounts of slavery offer the opportunity to get to know two people who did not make it into the history books but whose stories have much to teach. The narrative of John Washington, which he titled "Memorys of the Past" is the more literary of the two. Washington vowed to escape from slavery when his mother was sold away when he was a child. Washington spent most of his early life as an urban slave in Virginia working as a house servant in a tobacco factory and in an inn, among other places. With the advance of the Union army through Fredericksburg in 1862, Washington saw his opportunity to cross the river to the Union lines. He became an aide to several Union officers and ultimately established himself with his wife, who had been born free, in Washington D.C. Washington's narrative has some excellent portrayals of the movements of the soldiers on both sides and of his experiences with the Union army. Turnage's account is untitled and substantially less polished that Washington's. Turnage spent most of his time in slavery in the deep south near Pickensville, Alabama. He was a field hand and subjected to more cruelty and violence than was Washington. His account is replete with descriptions of whippings given to himself and, especially, to women. Witnessing and receiving these whippings made Turnage determined to escape. Turnage made at least four unsuccessful attempts at escape before he succeeded, after each of which he was punished with increasing severity. In the first several attempts, Turnage went west to try to reach the Union lines in Corinth, Mississippi. He nearly succeeded but was returned to his master on each occasion. Turnage finally succeeded in a daring attempt to reach Mobile Bay, the site of a great Union naval victory. Turnage had to cross snake-infested swamps and achieved freedom only when Union soldiers rescued him from the sinking makeshift boat in which he had been riding to freedom. Turnage offers a graphic, gritty account of his escape and of the harshness of slavery in the deep south. Importantly, Turnage does not show bitterness towards his oppressors. He writes at the outset of his narrative: "I do not mean to speak disparagingly of those who sold me, nor of those who bought me. Though I seen a hard time, it had an attendency to make a man out of me." (Blight, page 213) In his introductory material, Blight retells and expands upon the narratives of Washington and Turnage. Through laborious historical research, Blight also describes the lives of the two men and their families after their escape. Washington spent most of his life as a painter in Washington D.C. and was active in the church and the developing African-American community. His five children went on to careers, with his youngest son enjoying success as a science teacher and athletic coach. Turnage had a much more difficult time of it living in the overcrowded, disease-infested sections of New York City and witnessing the deaths of his mother, wife, and several children. One of his daughters was able to "pass" for white, and she was the source for recovering her father's manuscript. Blight also offers an interesting discussion of the Emancipation Proclamation which focuses on the immediate reaction to it in African American communities in both North and South. I found Blight's discussion somewhat broader and more polemical than it needed to be to elucidate the narratives of Washington and Turnage. But most of his discussion makes for interesting reading. Washington and Turnage wrote inspiring narratives of their journey from slavery to freedom. Blight has done a service in making these narratives available to the public. This book will be of interest to readers concerned with American slavery, the Civil War, and African American history. Readers unfamiliar with other slave narratives may wish to explore Frederick Douglass's autobiographies and the volume titled "Slave Narratives," both of which are available from the Library of America. Robin Friedman

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    I heard an interview of David Blight on Fresh Air and knew right away that I had to read this book. These two narratives are amazing. Each man was a slave who escaped to freedom during the civil war and then later wrote the story of his escape. And each story was protected, but hidden, for almost a hundred years so that they are now available to us completely unaltered from their original writing (which wouldn't be the case if they'd been published at the time of their writing). It goes without s I heard an interview of David Blight on Fresh Air and knew right away that I had to read this book. These two narratives are amazing. Each man was a slave who escaped to freedom during the civil war and then later wrote the story of his escape. And each story was protected, but hidden, for almost a hundred years so that they are now available to us completely unaltered from their original writing (which wouldn't be the case if they'd been published at the time of their writing). It goes without saying that slavery was and is a horrible, evil institution with lasting ramifications that is (and should be) a permanent stain on our country. But I imagine that most people who aren't Black probably haven't really thought about what slavery was. Reading this book, which begins with Blight's excellent description of the overall times and history and which weaves in parts of Wallace Turnage's and John Washington's narratives and ends with the narratives themselves, really made me stop and think about slavery. Just one example: I think all of us know that slave owners raped their slaves and that children resulted from these rapes. And these children were themselves slaves. But how many of us have stopped to really think about what this means? Fathers enslaved their own children. Their own children! Sold them, separated them from their mothers, beat them, killed them. Their own children. I don't know if slavery made slave owners inhuman or if the inhuman chose to own slaves. Whichever, one remarkable thing is proven true by these two narratives: not even slavery could rob these men of their incredible dignity, their strength, or their determination to be free, no matter what it took. And what is true of these two men is undoubtedly true for the many millions of slaves who were prevented from writing their stories for us.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sam toer

    Fascinating gripping narratives that speak to the legacy of slavery and the meaning of the Civil War and Reconstruction

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I've always been a fan of those sort of rags-to-riches stories, but with slave narratives it takes these stories to a new level of awesome. How you go from chattel to society-man or -woman within one generation is astounding, perhaps impossible for most of those former slaves who have gone before us. In their narratives, both Wallace Turnage and John Washington use geography in near-precise terms. Through this geography, David Blight was able to place these slaves' escapes within the larger lands I've always been a fan of those sort of rags-to-riches stories, but with slave narratives it takes these stories to a new level of awesome. How you go from chattel to society-man or -woman within one generation is astounding, perhaps impossible for most of those former slaves who have gone before us. In their narratives, both Wallace Turnage and John Washington use geography in near-precise terms. Through this geography, David Blight was able to place these slaves' escapes within the larger landscape of the Civil War and other major national events. It was this juxtaposition that helped me see Turnage, Washington, and key political/wartime figures as real people in a real place in time. For instance, I learned here that Lincoln was not a champion of abolition but a troubling pragmatist willing to do anything (including the repatriation of slaves) to preserve the Union. I give this book 5 stars not because of the narratives' "quality", but because of Blight's analysis of this time period in American history. This book and its accompanying narratives is a rare gem within the African American Diaspora and should be required reading for high school/college American history courses.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nona Thomas

    I have read many of the WPA slave narratives in the past. This book however gives a complete profile of two men both slaves with different experiences who want to be free. Excellent book

  7. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Compelling and important in so many ways. I was especially impressed with Turnage’s vivid description of his many escape attempts, including the final escape just after being whipped for attempting to escape. There are fools who imagine that slaves were content with their lot or that slaves had decent lives. They ought to be required to read this book and any other first person slave narratives available until they can recognize the complete inhumanity of the slave system.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    As the civil war was being waged, two slaves, John M. Washington and Wallace Turnage, seized the moment and escaped across Confederate lines and into the union army. Both men left narratives or autobiographies that were passed down through friends and family and only recently came to attention of historians. Blight, a foremost authority on emancipation and professor at Yale University, published them with no changes to grammar or spelling, adding a lengthy analysis that reveals how the narrative As the civil war was being waged, two slaves, John M. Washington and Wallace Turnage, seized the moment and escaped across Confederate lines and into the union army. Both men left narratives or autobiographies that were passed down through friends and family and only recently came to attention of historians. Blight, a foremost authority on emancipation and professor at Yale University, published them with no changes to grammar or spelling, adding a lengthy analysis that reveals how the narratives came to light, puts them in historical context, and fills in biographical gaps with genealogical information. An incredible amount of work went into filling in the gaps of their lives.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    If the editor of this book would have been less skillful at framing the slave narratives included here, this could have been a much less enjoyable work, but fortunately for any reader of this book, this is a compelling narrative placed superbly in context.  As someone who is very familiar with books about slavery [1], this book caught my interest for fairly obvious reasons.  I have to say that having read this book I am impressed both with the narratives themselves as well as with the way that t If the editor of this book would have been less skillful at framing the slave narratives included here, this could have been a much less enjoyable work, but fortunately for any reader of this book, this is a compelling narrative placed superbly in context.  As someone who is very familiar with books about slavery [1], this book caught my interest for fairly obvious reasons.  I have to say that having read this book I am impressed both with the narratives themselves as well as with the way that the editor provides a context for those narratives in light of the historical situation both of the narratives are set.  While each of these narratives would have made a short read on their own, combined they provide each other with a context in demonstrating some of the common traits and similarities that were experienced by both of the men and their families.  The editor also excels in discussing the life of the authors before and after slavery were documentary evidence allows such an understanding, which makes the gripping and dramatic tales of self-emancipation discussed here even more compelling to the reader. The slightly more than 250 pages of this book are divided into two parts.  The first 160 pages or so of the book consists of written material by Professor Blight on the lives and narratives of two slaves who self-emancipated during the Civil War.  The author discusses their similarities--both had white fathers, learned a taste for freedom as urban slaves, and ran away to Union lines and were accepted along with the intelligence they brought, both traveled for some time at least with the Union troops they met, and both wrote about their experiences and sought to demonstrate their citizenship through hard work and a drive to rise in the world.  The second part of the book consists of two slave narratives and some additional material to the second one.  The first narrative is from John Washington, who escaped from Fredericksburg in early 1862 with the approach of Union soldiers and later became a sign painter.  The second narrative is from Wallace Turnage, a chronic runaway who finally succeeded in finding Union lines on his fifth (!) escape attempt while in Mobile in late August of 1864.  This second narrative also includes a eulogy for his deceased son in 1865 in the aftermath of national mourning over Lincoln's death. This book excels for at least a few reasons.  For one, these two narratives are very rare examples of runaway slave writings from the period of the Civil War.  Likewise, the eulogy to Turnage's dead son is a rare example of a black narrative of the mid-19th century of such a circumstance.  The narratives themselves, although filled with a large degree of spelling and grammatical errors, are compelling stories told with a great deal of rawness and authenticity.  These were not heavily doctored and ghostwritten accounts designed to appeal to a mass audience, but rather handwritten documents written for the family of the authors and unpublished until this book.  In addition to this, the editor's own writing is filled with nuance and balance.  He comments on the duel of wills both of the narratives display between masters and slaves, on the corrupting/liberating habits of urban life for slaves, and on the fact that self-emancipation required both the initiative of the escapee as well as the opportunity to be able to reach Union lines.  In both of these cases, both qualities were met and the result was a successful bid to freedom that increased the personal dignity both men felt and also felt it worthwhile to put down in writing to the best of their abilities, for the benefit of posterity. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2010...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jill Parsons

    I really disliked how Blight did not let the narratives speak for themselves. They were very understandable and well written. Basically he re-wrote their narratives. If he would have put the narratives first, then added the additional information about their lives and history I think it would have worked better. The history and information in the book is amazing, but Blight's organization and editing was too heavy handed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    In a slave no more, David W. Blight tells the stories of two men who escaped from slavery during the American Civil War. He takes us through their lives before, during, and after their escapes. In the first few chapters, he mingles their stories and explains a lot about the history of the time as he does so. It is not until the final chapters that the reader is introduced to the men’s own accounts of their escapes. While the first few chapters were filled with a lot of historical details, it was In a slave no more, David W. Blight tells the stories of two men who escaped from slavery during the American Civil War. He takes us through their lives before, during, and after their escapes. In the first few chapters, he mingles their stories and explains a lot about the history of the time as he does so. It is not until the final chapters that the reader is introduced to the men’s own accounts of their escapes. While the first few chapters were filled with a lot of historical details, it was hard to connect with the men because the narrative kept jumping around. However, once the personal narratives are reached, it becomes a lot easier to relate to the men and understand them. I wish I had read their versions of their lives and story before reading all the information that Mr. Blight provided.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This is one of those that caught my eye perhaps as much based on the red letters on the dust jacket, but with little thought on the subject matter, and turned out to actually be a pretty good listen. The stories of African-Americans who sought freedom in the Union Forces, but were treated as badly by their liberators as by their former 'owners,' was very interesting in that they risked their lives when they traveled back into their Southern homelands. They could easily have been executed as spie This is one of those that caught my eye perhaps as much based on the red letters on the dust jacket, but with little thought on the subject matter, and turned out to actually be a pretty good listen. The stories of African-Americans who sought freedom in the Union Forces, but were treated as badly by their liberators as by their former 'owners,' was very interesting in that they risked their lives when they traveled back into their Southern homelands. They could easily have been executed as spies or collaborators, yet they kept coming in to be emancipated. Quite a story!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Burney Huff

    I really enjoyed this book! The author begins by telling a story that incorporates parts of the autobiographies of the two escaped slaves. In my opinion, this story provides the reader with a good picture of what life was like for slaves and non-slaves during this time. Following the author’s story, both autobiographies of the escaped slaves are presented. The autobiographies are presented verbatim, exactly as written by the two men. Very good!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    I can only stand to read the half of this book that contains the writing of the actual enslaved writers. This guy, Blight, is so arrogant and patronizing that he clearly doesn't even realize how offensive he is. His caucasian conjectures on the experiences of enslaved people are truly offensive. He actually calls a tortured enslaved man's prose "unpolished." The man survived multiple escape attempts! There are so many things wrong with even the premise of this book in this person's hands.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I thought the history and build-up added needed context to the narratives. There was so build-up that I was a little disappointed in the actual journals. I think the historical context gave good perspective to the conditions. I think everybody should read a book about cultures that have historically been disadvantaged.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Totally recommend this book! I would have put the original narratives first and then the historical commentary, but these accounts are incredibly enlightening. The historic background fills in the gaps and provides the context for the story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Davidson

    My only complaint was that the author tells you the story of the two men before getting to the actual first hand accounts. On the audiobook you don’t actually get to them until you’re over 60% of the way through.

  18. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Byers

    Turnage’s story of escape, alternating between slaves that helped and fed him and slaves that betrayed him was AMAZING.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Weaver

    Nicely done.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Two important American stories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron California

    Reader Comments This is an excellent history book on slavery. Being mulatto myself I highly recommend this book to every person that is of full or part African-American decent.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    This book is a very important addition to the knowledge of slavery because it contains two narratives written by men who survived slavery and lived the final years of their lives as free men.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adrianna Cobb

    5 stars for the brave narratives of the escaped enslaved men. 1 star for the insufferable Blight and his condescending commentary.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ~m

    This book is so worth a read. Two men tell their own stories of escaping Slavery. It will break your heart.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I am grateful these stories survived.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric Grunder

    There are many books about slavery in America. Few books let those who experienced slavery firsthand have a central voice. This book does.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    Wallace Turnage and John Washington were two men who escaped from slavery during the Civil War and made their way North as free men, settling down and raising children in what hardscrabble freedom was available to them in the years of reconstruction. At some point later in their lives, each wrote a first-hand account of his escape from slavery, repeating some of the tropes of the escape narrative genre while making their own untutored (but literate) way through the story. Historian David Blight, Wallace Turnage and John Washington were two men who escaped from slavery during the Civil War and made their way North as free men, settling down and raising children in what hardscrabble freedom was available to them in the years of reconstruction. At some point later in their lives, each wrote a first-hand account of his escape from slavery, repeating some of the tropes of the escape narrative genre while making their own untutored (but literate) way through the story. Historian David Blight, trusted with the unedited texts from family and friends of descendants of the men, situates the texts within the historical record and our contemporary understanding of slavery, the civil war, and the United States after reconstruction. After elucidating the connections flowing through the text, Blight presents the unaltered stories as written, giving the reader access to a direct voice from the 1860s. It's a compelling book, and well worth a read. A few extra thoughts: Part of me scoffed at Blight's assertion that these texts were being presented without editing (since roughly two-thirds of the book is introduction to them, an inextricable framing process that the reader can't help but call to mind as s/he reads), but at the same time, the significance of many events in the mens' lives would have gone unremarked, for me, had I not known the historical context for the story they were telling. It's interesting to see how the voice actors struggle with bringing the unedited writing voice of the men alive without slipping into caricature. They pull it off, as far as I'm concerned. Blight is a major Lincoln supporter, suggesting that Lincoln was a canny politician who always wanted abolition, but had to dance lightly around the question to everyone, leading to his embarrassing colony plan and his reluctance to emancipate unless it was unavoidable. At the same time, Blight uses the direct voices of the men to reiterate how significant the slavery question was in the civil war itself. Recent scholarship has tended toward complex answers, suggesting that the causes for the civil war were not so black and white, that the North was implicated in the labor market that included Southern slaves, etc. Blight cuts through all that to remind us that when the war came, the whites were concerned that slaves would try to get free, and the blacks were trying to get free themselves. While both stories are very compelling, I think the five escape attempts (along with beatings and all manner of awfulness) that Wallace Turnage managed are just incredible. His description of hiding in the swamp while he waited for the right time to try his luck floating across the river on a log struck me to the core. A Slave No More is a compelling look at a key moment in American history, a story told directly by the people at its center, and well worth the read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marylou Najera

    Amazing tales of escape from two slaves, and in their own words. Heartbreaking and at the same time, inspiring.

  29. 5 out of 5

    hamptonenglish10

    Joe Lehman Academic English 10 Ms. Emmett April 5, 2013 "A Slave No More", is a book that describes two accounts of different slaves escaping from their servitude. As you know already, trying to gain freedom was a dream for all slaves and was the most difficult task any of the people had ever faced. The book's setting takes place during the civil war from the year 1838 to about 1900. The first account is of a man named John Washington, he was a town slave and did things such as running errands for Joe Lehman Academic English 10 Ms. Emmett April 5, 2013 "A Slave No More", is a book that describes two accounts of different slaves escaping from their servitude. As you know already, trying to gain freedom was a dream for all slaves and was the most difficult task any of the people had ever faced. The book's setting takes place during the civil war from the year 1838 to about 1900. The first account is of a man named John Washington, he was a town slave and did things such as running errands for his master. Wallace Turnage on the other hand had a much more difficult time as a slave for he lived on a plantation in Alabama. He suffered many whippings in his time as a slave and desperately needed to gain his freedom. After running from their homes that they had been living in most of their lives they started a journey that would eventually pay off but took months of misery. The book follows them through their adventure until they a both freed from the slavery they had lived with for most of their life. This book is an inspiring story that a person of any ethnicity could learn from. The accounts of the men will educate the reader on the lives of slaves and the struggles they went through attempting to gain freedom. It will teach many people about the time period around the civil war. Aside from history many themes can be take from this story. Themes that this book would tie to would be inspiring and unoriginal, such as, "never give up." These themes are good to live by and would be influential to any reader going through a tough time. The adventurous book has a lot of information that I did not know previous to reading the book. My book, "A Slave No More", was a very interesting book that I would recommend to people of both sexes and is at least in their teen years. The book contained many gorey scenes that were used to describe the hardships these men went through. Because of this some girls may not enjoy the book as much, despite this the concepts and the journey in the book are extremely exciting. Anyone the slightest bit interested in the history of slavery should read this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    C.C. Thomas

    "A Slave No More" tells the true story of two men (Wallace Turnage and John Washington) who escaped slavery and lived the remainder of their lives as freedmen. This story is the narrative of their slave life and escape rather than an account of their lives after that. The book is divided up into two main parts: the first part is the retelling of the narratives by David Blight, the author. In it, Blight takes the words of the men and rewrites their stories, embellishing the tale with historical ev "A Slave No More" tells the true story of two men (Wallace Turnage and John Washington) who escaped slavery and lived the remainder of their lives as freedmen. This story is the narrative of their slave life and escape rather than an account of their lives after that. The book is divided up into two main parts: the first part is the retelling of the narratives by David Blight, the author. In it, Blight takes the words of the men and rewrites their stories, embellishing the tale with historical events for the reader as well as adding opinions and thoughts of his own. The second part of the book is the actual accounts written by the men themselves. The format of the book was really troubling to me as a reader. I disliked how Blight rewrote the men's stories, explaining that their poor grammar and syntax was the cause. The importance of their first person account was diminished with the retelling and, in many parts, Blight seems to be speak with the arrogance of a historian lecturing down to the reader. I disliked Blight's historical references, many of which were unneeded, and bogged the story down. The real force of the book, the tales told by slaves who lived and breathed almost seemed tagged on as an afterthought at the end of the book. It seems to me that their stories should have come first and then Blight's thoughts after that, or perhaps mixed in along the way. I did enjoy learning what happened to the men and their families after their narratives were finished, though. Overall, its isn't a book I can recommend, either for a good story or for an important historical read.

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