BOUND FOR THE NORTH STAR by Dennis Brindell Fradin


True Stories of Fugitive Slaves
Age Range: 11 & up
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Slavery, “the peculiar institution,” was practiced throughout the New World, but Fradin concentrates on the slaves who escaped, and provides, as much as possible, biographies of those who had the courage to face the awful consequences should they have been returned to slavery. By the same token, he makes very clear the inhumanity and destructive capabilities of those who “owned” other humans—people separated from their bond masters by color and the fact that they were mere merchandise. They were first sold by African tribal people of the same color to Europeans of different skin color and religion. The narratives are based on the stories of 16 people who dared to escape from bondage previous to the Underground Railroad as well as during its existence. Illustrated with period prints, the biographies are moving, touching—and devastating, even as the life of a slave was devastating to his or her humanity. Julius Lester’s To Be a Slave would be a fine companion to Fradin’s work. Scholarly paraphernalia includes Web sites, bibliography, and index, but the author provides neither footnotes nor backnotes to the narratives and his brief introductory discussions. Dates within, or introductory, to the narratives would have been helpful as would have commentary on the period illustrations (e.g., cuts of Eliza from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, crossing the ice showing her as a Caucasian, might have been helpful to the less-informed). Other than this lack of notes or commentary, this personal and affecting account would be a model. Even so, it is moving and enlightening. (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-97017-2
Page count: 202pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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