Gr 3-5-These short sketches about 14 men and women who fought against slavery in the early to mid-1800s include very little biographical information, but do give some scant data about the vision or direction taken in the person's career. Of the people discussed, nine will be familiar to children studying the period (John Brown, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Abraham Lincoln, Lucretia Mott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner); five may not (Elijah Lovejoy, Charles Sumner, Denmark Vesey, David Walker, Theodore Dwight Weld). One of the true strengths of this book is that most of the short essays include remarks by the subjects or quotations from their works. Unfortunately, the only introductory remarks are printed on the verso of the title page, where many children will overlook them. On each chapter spread, a full-page painting of the subject faces the essay. These illustrations don't add much to the understanding of the text and tend to be somewhat stiff in execution. There are biographies in print on many of these subjects; encyclopedias and single-reference volumes, such as Jessie Carney Smith's Notable Black American Men (Gale, 1998), contain information on the rest.-Ellen Loughran, Library Consultant, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Adler gives 14 "enemies of slavery," black and white, the barest bones of coverage in this series of thumbnail sketches. Expected names-Douglass, Lincoln, Stowe, Truth, Tubman-are arranged alphabetically along with some lesser-known figures: Elijah Lovejoy, Denmark Vesey, Theodore Dwight Weld. He gives each figure one page of text, many heavily larded with quotations, and one facing illustration. The dissonance between the superficiality of the biographies and the frequently complex language of these quotations begs serious questions as to this offering's audience: if it is intended simply as an introduction to the subject, then how can young neophytes be expected to make sense of such statements as Frederick Douglass's exhortation that, "Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without rival"? Smith's awkward paintings are a sad complement to Adler's neither-fish-nor-fowl narrative-the whole is one of those many good intentions that pave the road to you-know-where. (Nonfiction. 6-10)