LIBERTY OR DEATH by Margaret Whitman Blair


The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided with the British During the American Revolution
Age Range: 10 - 14
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Not much has been written for young readers about runaway slaves who sided with the British during the American Revolution, so this fine work is a welcome addition to the field. As M.T. Anderson did fictionally for older readers in the second volume of the Octavian Nothing saga (The Kingdom on the Waves, 2008), Blair tells the story of Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment. Though a slaveholder himself, Lord Dunmore offered freedom to slaves who fought for the British, though the offer only applied to slaves whose masters were in rebellion against the crown. Estimates vary, but at least 15,000 to 20,000 slaves answered Lord Dunmore’s call. These black loyalists fought in a separate regiment from white soldiers, while the 5,000 who fled to the patriot side fought in integrated units, a fascinating indication of the complex meanings of freedom in this turbulent time. Clear writing and a lively, if busy, format make this an eminently readable work, and maps, drawings, paintings and sidebars heighten the appeal. The epilogue offers historical perspective and celebrates the determination of the black loyalists to “live and thrive as free men and women.” Another solid history from National Geographic. (timeline, resource guide, index, sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0590-0
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: National Geographic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2009