All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw

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Some chroniclers have called black history from 1881 to 1915 'The Age of Booker T. Washington' and the label is apt, for he was without question the most prominent spokesman for his race during the post-Reconstruction period. Many of his contemporaries deemed him a savior -- the one man who could bring concrete improvement to the lives of African-Americans while also promoting racial harmony. Others, particularly black intellectuals, called him a traitor to his race, asserting that his accommodationist position ...
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All God's Dangers

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Overview

Some chroniclers have called black history from 1881 to 1915 'The Age of Booker T. Washington' and the label is apt, for he was without question the most prominent spokesman for his race during the post-Reconstruction period. Many of his contemporaries deemed him a savior -- the one man who could bring concrete improvement to the lives of African-Americans while also promoting racial harmony. Others, particularly black intellectuals, called him a traitor to his race, asserting that his accommodationist position not only contributed to black disenfranchisement and dejure segregation but, in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, 'practically accepts the alleged inferiority of blacks.' But however one judges Booker T. Washington, his vast influence is inescapable, and his autobiography, Up From Slavery, winner of the National Book Award, is essential reading for anyone seeking insight into the black experience in the early 20th century. In Up From Slavery, Washington does not dwell on his relatively brief period of enslavement, focusing instead on his struggle to rise above it. For a more balanced look at the experience of slavery itself, this special Collector's Edition includes excerpts from the slave narratives of five less-well-known black writers, offering perspective and background to Washington's story. The text is further enhanced by a rich mix of archival material from the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The autobiography of a black Alabama cotton farmer is also a history of the Deep South since reconstruction.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
There are only a few American autobiographies of surpassing greatness…Now there is another one, Nate Shaw's.
Charles McGrath
....Shaw's rich language and high storytelling style make this an eloquent book. -- The New York Times Books of the Century
New York Times - Dwight Garner

“Somewhere along the line, people stopped talking about it. Friends of mine who talk about nothing except Southern literature have barely heard of the book. I pounced on it after I discovered that Richard Howorth, the well-read owner of Square Books, the independent bookstore in Oxford, Miss., utters its title aloud every time a customer asks the question, 'What one book would you say best explains the South?' I wish I could say that, this early spring, I read All God’s Dangers in one sitting. It’s not that kind of book. It’s a meandering thing; its pleasures are intense but cumulative. This book rolls. But it is superb—both serious history and a serious pleasure, a story that reads as if Huddie Ledbetter spoke it while W. E. B. Du Bois took dictation. That it’s been largely forgotten is bad for it, but worse for us. . . . All God’s Dangers  . . . deserves a place in the front rank of American autobiographies. There are many reasons, in 2014, to attend to Ned Cobb’s [Nate Shaw’s] story.”
New York Times

“There are only a few American autobiographies of surpassing greatness. . . . Now there is another one, Nate Shaw’s.”
Washington Post Book World - Robert Coles

“Extraordinarily rich and compelling . . . possesses the same luminous power we associate with Faulkner.”
New Republic - Studs Terkel

“Eloquent and revelatory. . . . This is an anthem to human endurance.”
Christian Science Monitor - H.W. Bragdon

“The authentic voice of a warm, brave, and decent individual. . . . A pleasure to read. . . . Shaw’s observations on the life and people around him, clothed in wonderfully expressive language, are fresh and clear.”
Time - Paul Grey

“Astonishing . . . Nate Shaw was a formidable bearer of memories. . . . Miraculously, this man’s wrenching tale sings of life’s pleasures: honest work, the rhythm of the seasons, the love of relatives and friends, the stubborn persistence of hope when it should have vanished . . . All God’s Dangers is most valuable for its picture of pure courage.”
Harvard Educational Review - Randall Jarrell

“A triumph of ideas and historical content as well of expression and style.”
Chicago Tribune Book World - Alfred C. Ames

“Tremendous . . . a testimony of human nobility . . . the record of a heroic man with a phenomenal memory and a life experience of a kind of seldom set down in print. . . . a person of extraordinary stature, industrious, brave, prudent, and magnanimous. . . . One emerges from these hundred of pages wiser, sadder, and better because of them. A unique triumph!”
Baltimore Sun

“Awesome and powerful . . . A living history of nearly a century of cataclysmic change in the life of the Southerner, both black and white . . . Nate Shaw spans our history from slavery to Selma, and he can evoke each age with an accuracy and poignancy so pure that we stand amazed.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394722450
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/1984
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Pages: 575

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
About Booker T. Washington
About This Edition
Up from Slavery 1
Other Early Black Narratives 231
From the History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave 233
From the Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself 258
From Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: Or, The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery 287
From the Narrative of Bethany Veney, a Slave Woman 305
From Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days 313
Suggestions for Further Reading 320
Checklist of Illustrations 324
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    I'm about half way through, but wanted to write that this is a t

    I'm about half way through, but wanted to write that this is a truly exceptional oral history from an Alabama share cropper. Highly recommended reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2014

    Highly recommended

    A great book about a man's life and perseverance through the incredible hardships for an African American sharecropper in the south from 1900 on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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