Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero

Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero

by Cate Lineberry

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Overview

Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero by Cate Lineberry

***Finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize***

Henry Louis Gates, Jr: "A stunning tale of a little-known figure in history."

Candice Millard: “Be Free or Die makes you want to stand up and cheer.”

The astonishing true story of Robert Smalls’ amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman.

It was a mild May morning in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, when a twenty-three-year-old slave named Robert Smalls did the unthinkable and boldly seized a Confederate steamer. With his wife and two young children hidden on board, Smalls and a small crew ran a gauntlet of heavily armed fortifications in Charleston Harbor and delivered the valuable vessel and the massive guns it carried to nearby Union forces. To be unsuccessful was a death sentence for all. Smalls’ courageous and ingenious act freed him and his family from slavery and immediately made him a Union hero while simultaneously challenging much of the country’s view of what African Americans were willing to do to gain their freedom.

After his escape, Smalls served in numerous naval campaigns off Charleston as a civilian boat pilot and eventually became the first black captain of an Army ship. In a particularly poignant moment Smalls even bought the home that he and his mother had once served in as house slaves.

Cate Lineberry's Be Free or Die is a compelling narrative that illuminates Robert Smalls’ amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman. This captivating tale of a valuable figure in American history gives fascinating insight into the country's first efforts to help newly freed slaves while also illustrating the many struggles and achievements of African Americans during the Civil War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250101860
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/20/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 341,797
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

CATE LINEBERRY is a journalist and the author of The Secret Rescue, a #1 Wall Street Journal e-book bestseller and a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. Lineberry was previously a staff writer and editor for National Geographic Magazine and the web editor for Smithsonian Magazine. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times. Lineberry lives in Raleigh, NC.

Table of Contents

Map of Charleston Harbor, 1862 x

Key Participants xi

Prologue 1

1 The Escape 4

2 South Carolina's Son 29

3 In the Service of the Confederacy 49

4 Union Hero 72

5 Our Country Calls 92

6 North and South 116

7 The Keokuk 134

8 Captain Smalls 152

9 The City of Brotherly Love 170

10 Triumph and Tragedy 190

11 Retaliation and Reward 206

Epilogue 225

Acknowledgments 233

Notes 237

Index 265

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Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Be free or die is very good for people my age because it teaches me very important lessons about how life works
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am glad I picked this up in the store. I bought another copy for my uncle who knew of this story. The little known story is very well written with accuracy as demonstrated by the level of research (see back).