Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
By David W. Blight
Why this book?
Since 1991, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute and Gettysburg College have annually awarded the Lincoln Prize to the best book on the sixteenth president or the Civil War era, and this biography of Lincoln’s frequent critic and sometimes supporter richly deserved the award. Because Douglass lived nearly eight decades, his eventful life has surely dissuaded potential biographers, with the last full life published in 1992.
Historians have instead focused on one period or aspect of his life, with Leigh Fought examining his relationships with women and Blight himself, in an earlier volume, chronicling Douglass’s activism during the Civil War years. At 764 pages, some readers may find the book’s size intimidating, but Blight is as elegant a writer as he is thorough a researcher.
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