Customer Reviews for

The Bondwoman's Narrative

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    An Important and Intriguing Addition to Slave Narratives!!!

    For several years I have seen Henry Louis Gates on BookTv. And I have admired his books about African-American slaves as well as his specials on PBS. Almost as interesting as THE BONDWOMAN'S NARRATIVE are the preceding pages explaining how Mr. Gates came upon this narrative of an unknown slave woman as well as how he tested the manuscript for authenticity. This book is considered a novel but I believe it is based on actual happenings in this young woman's life. It is a vitally important contribution to African-American history and should be read by everyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    A MOVING EMPATHETIC READING

    Dubbed by Newsweek magazine as 'the most exciting individual in the American theater,' actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith gives empathetic reading to this landmark narrative. Known for her portrayal of Nancy McNally on the popular TV show 'The West Wing,' Smith has also written and performed two one-woman plays pertaining to racial issues in America. It is one thing to read about the injustices of slavery from a historical or even an observer's point of view. It is quite something else to learn of the daily life of a slave in the indentured person's own voice. Such is the case with 'The Bondwoman's Narrative' penned by a female slave in the 1850s. According to the editor this manuscript has existed for 140 years, and is quite probably the 'earliest known novel by a female African-American slave and the earliest known novel by a black woman anywhere.' Also according to Mr. Gates a slave escaped from a North Carolina plantation in 1857 and was able to reach New Jersey. It is his contention that she is the author of this book. Whether one wishes to question the authenticity of his identification or not is quite immaterial considering the compelling material within 'The Bondwoman's Narrative.' The relationship between ladies' maids and their mistresses is revealed in sharp detail, as are the offensive overtures by a relentless master. The slave and narrator is presented not as a human being but as chattel, valued only for what she might bring on the block.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Enlightening Book

    This book was educational for me. The actual Bondwoman's story was not all that long but the appendix and the forward were probably longer than the book. It is clear the blacks held in slavery so long were just as intelligent and observant as the whites who owned them. This woman told a story that was insightful and well written for someone without formal education and with all the handicaps to reading and writing that were placed on her. Enjoyable and eye opening for me.

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    WOW

    I really thought I was back in school reading this. It felt like a class. Was not light reading. Very wordy, very intellectual and dry. While it was a good basic story, I do not feel it was written by a former slave. The stuff before the story explaining how it was obtained was WOW boring. In all I wish I had not paid so much for this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    Not that great!

    After reading the reviews , I thought this would be an interesting book to start learning about the slave experience, boy ! Was I mistaken. The author 'rambles' a lot, it is hard to keep focused on the plot and the characters. At some points of the book I lost the point of her journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    A must read

    As an African American woman I found this book incredibly vivid, descriptive and could hardly put it down. This is definitely a must read novel. God bless all the souls subjected to the horrors of slavery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    Inspiring

    This book caught my attention b/c it was an authenticated script of a slave. I was blown away. I loved the book from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    A Wonderful Find!!!

    I am glad Professor Gates had the insight to purchase and publish this manuscript. It gives a realistic account of a slave's life and the desire for freedom. This woman turned out to be a highly educated woman and able to express her feelings and observations about life. Thank you Professor Gates.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    PHENOMENAL

    A slave woman giving her account of life as a slave and at the same time documenting history. The Bonswoman's Narrative is the story of a slave woman that should be told or read to future generations as a part of oral tradition. Just as Hannah recites the story of the Linden tree, we need to recite her story to young people of all race. It's a part of our history and culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    The Bondwoman's Narrative

    This is a great & insightful book on slavery & the struggles to get free. The characters are very well written & the events well told.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2002

    A landmark book that everyone (especially us African Americans should read).

    Absolutely wonderful. A reasurring book that reminds us that all slaves were not dumb, ignorant, and lacking of a desire to pursue knowledge. This book gives a glimpse into the life of a slave who was not the typical field negro. We also get a glimpse into the life of a woman who lived with the secret that she was black, and how the secret haunted her every minute of every hour. One of my favorite parts of the book, however, is in the beginning where Gates details the painstaking efforts to discover who the author was, and who the characters in the books were. You get a glimpse of the false leads and the promising evidence Henry Louis Gates, Jr. comes across. It's great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2002

    A LANDMARK MEMOIR

    It is one thing to read about the injustices of slavery from a historical or even an observer's point of view. It is quite something else to learn of the daily life of a slave in the indentured person's own voice. Such is the case with 'The Bondwoman's Narrative' penned by a female slave in the 1850s. According to the editor this manuscript has existed for 140 years, and is quite probably the 'earliest known novel by a female African-American slave and the earliest known novel by a black woman anywhere.' Also according to Mr. Gates a slave escaped from a North Carolina plantation in 1857 and was able to reach New Jersey. It is his contention that she is the author of this book. Whether one wishes to question the authenticity of his identification or not is quite immaterial considering the compelling material within 'The Bondwoman's Narrative.' The relationship between ladies' maids and their mistresses is revealed in sharp detail, as are the offensive overtures by a relentless master. The slave and narrator is presented not as a human being but as chattel, valued only for what she might bring on the block. Ms. Craft has ably evoked pictures of the old South as well as the horrific conditions imposed by bondage. It is a miracle that these people could even hope for freedom. It is a wonder that this manuscript was brought to light at last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2002

    Captivating

    I was completely drawn into this story of a woman who accepted her lot until. She writes like someone educated who read Jane Austen and was welltreated. I belive it's authentic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2002

    great book.

    Buy this book for recreation reading. The story is interesting and well written. I like reading the crossed out sections of the book because it shows how the person thought and expressed herself. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

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