FROM SLAVE TO ABOLITIONIST: The Life Of William Wells Brown by Lucille Sehulberg Warner

FROM SLAVE TO ABOLITIONIST: The Life Of William Wells Brown

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Narrative of William Wells Brown, available in Osofsky's Puttin' On Ole Massa (1969, adult) and in an edition prepared by L. Gars, is one of the better known first-person accounts of slave life. Brown served a number of masters from a notorious slave trader to the future abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, and his scathing account of beating and degradation, a way of life he vividly described as ""cut and slash, knock down and drag about,"" has the perspective of a man who knew the best as well as the worst conditions slavery could offer. Warner's adaptation draws from Brown's later books and uses ""borrowed and adjusted language"" from other writers to complete the narrative, telling how Brown fled North to become an anti-slavery orator and a novelist, playwright, and essayist. The form could present problems for students who can't be sure whether they're reading Brown's actual words or ones ""borrowed"" from another source, but it is a seamlessly readable whole and preserves the distinctive tone as well as the substance of Wells' autobiographical writings.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Dial