Presenting the dramatic life of one of slavery's staunchest opponents, the McKissacks illuminate the most important issues of 19th-century American politics. Born a slave in upstate New York, Belle Hardenburgh struggled to survive, to create and hold together a family, and to be free. Her children grown, she answered a spiritual call to preach against slavery, using her own experiences to win over hostile audiences and choosing a new name, Sojourner Truth, to reflect her commitment. Many other leading lights joined her campaigns for the welfare of African-Americans and women. In describing the effects of her ministry, the authors clearly convey her differences of opinion with other abolitionists and fairly depict other important actors in her life--including her former master, who actually became an abolitionist. Though they don't document the thoughts and feelings they attribute to Sojourner Truth (they appear to be drawn from other biographies), these emotions and ideas do ring true. A valuable contribution, well balanced and broad-minded. Photos and historical reproductions; bibliography; index.