The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

By Austin Reed, Caleb Smith (editor),

Book cover of The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

Book description

The earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer—recently discovered and authenticated by a team of Yale scholars—sheds light on the longstanding connection between race and incarceration in America.

“[A] harrowing [portrait] of life behind bars . . . part confession, part jeremiad, part lamentation, part picaresque novel (reminiscent,…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book surprised the scholarly community when the manuscript was first obtained at an estate sale.  A handwritten memoir that had lain largely unread for over a hundred and fifty years, this narrative depicts the sort of child we rarely see in the history books. A defiant apprentice, a runaway truant, a bartender, a prisoner, and author, Austin Reed offers us one plot twist after another. As a free person of color in the nineteenth century, Reed offers a compelling view into the life of one man who was determined to maintain his own sense of self, even in the…

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