Children's Literature - Pat ShermanFollowing the format established by previous volumes in "American Voices" series published by Marshall Cavendish, this book uses selections from a wide array of primary sources to present the history of slavery from colonial times to the end of the Civil War. Brief essays introduce each chapter and weave the selections together, but the main emphasis is on the sources themselves. Through them, we hear stories of endurance, hope, loss, grief, cruelty, and kindness. Some, such as Moses Roper's description of his punishment at the hands of a brutal master, are harsh and disturbing, others, including the amazing adventures of Harry Brown, who mailed himself to freedom in a box, speak of resiliency and success. Questions designed to provoke discussion follow each selection. The excellently reproduced illustrations, which include paintings, etchings, photographs, and broadsides, certainly deserve equal billing with the text. Sirimarco ends the book on a bleak note with a quote from a commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau, who laments that most Southern whites were no more willing to recognize the rights of African-Americans after the Civil War than they were before. This is true, yet his words feel like a rather abrupt conclusion to this rich chorus of voices. One wishes that the author had added a few final questions of her own or perhaps given the last speech to one of the newly emancipated slaves rather than a Northern official. This is a minor point, however, for overall this would be an invaluable addition to any school or library.
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Time of Slavery based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I must admit a bias against nonfiction reference books in general. In my opinion, they tend to be overpriced for the value of the material inside. Having prefaced my review with that, I must declare a resounding exception. Replete with photos and illustrations taken from the period, this book provides a heartwrenching, but powerful, firsthand account of slavery and its effects on slaves from the slaves themselves, abolitionists, and even our country¿s founding fathers. I found myself transfixed by the message, in spite of the moralizing that was done in the Introduction. The book looks at the aspects of slavery from the journey to America to everyday domestic life to religion. I read a few excerpts to my Forensics class to demonstrate the use of language to move audiences, and they sat in awed silence. This series has everything one would expect from an excellently done nonfiction book: discussion questions, a timeline, a glossary, further readings, web sites citing the location of several source documents, as well as an index. If the other books are as excellent as this one, it is a series that no U. S. History teacher would want to be without. This would also be a great resource for English teachers who use excerpts to encourage journaling.