UNDERGROUND MAN by Milton Meltzer


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Jeff Bowen's story is based on the "fragmentary and forgotten memoirs" of a Northern farm boy, briefly a preacher, who was later imprisoned for helping slaves escape from Kentucky. Meltzer draws also from court records, reminiscences of fugitive slaves and abolitionists, and other documents of the pre-Civil War period to create a narrative that is consistently suspenseful as well as historically accurate. Our first glimpse of Jeff as a boy struggling for his father's acceptance gives him dimension as a character which makes his anti-slavery work later all the more compelling. Jeff's accidental first encounter with a runaway, his subsequent dangerous and dramatic rescue missions, his years as a specially marked prisoner are thus true in both historical and fictional terms -- and though it's the former aspect that provides the chief interest here, the two are smoothly meshed and discreetly balanced.
Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1972
ISBN: 0152055185
Page count: 286pp
Publisher: Bradbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1972


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