``DEAR FRIEND'' by Judith Bentley


Thomas Garrett and William Still
Age Range: 10 & up
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 In a work given the expanded subtitle ``Collaborators on the Underground Railroad,'' Bentley (Harriet Tubman, 1990, etc.) offers details of the eastern line of that route through the correspondence between a white man and Quaker, Thomas Garrett, of Wilmington, and a free black man, William Still, of Philadelphia. Together they helped thousands of runaways to freedom, and fought for the abolition of slavery. Also included is information about some of the slaves as well as the political and social context for Garrett and Still's activities. They are crucial figures in the history of the Underground Railroad, but readers may not gain an appreciation for these men from this disjointed, confusing narrative. There are regular shifts in time, space, and focus, e.g., a negotiation regarding runaway slaves is interrupted for a flashback on Garrett's origins, his revelation as to the evils of slavery, the growth of his business, his first wife and their children, and his 38 years with his second wife. The most exciting parts of the stories are often given only fleeting treatment. A book that may fill out reports and other assignments on the Underground Railroad, but won't draw readers in the way the dramatic subject matter suggests. (b&w photos, prints, index, not seen, notes) (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-65156-X
Page count: 115pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996