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Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad by Christine Rudisel is a detailed book about the Underground Railroad and it recounts the intense escape from slavery that different slaves experienced. It has 203 pages of in-depth stories about the Underground Railroad and lots of the people who were involved with it. Many of them were slaves who didn’t only run away to freedom but also came back and helped abolish slavery. Some of them actually came back and helped other slaves escape, and others wrote books and speeches about their time being a slave and why slavery should be abolished.

The introduction of the book tells the reader about the Underground Railroad and what it was. The book says the Underground Railroad is the act of African Americans escaping slavery. It happened around the early 1840s and it was very dangerous and very illegal at the time. “A slave who escaped was legally guilty of theft: stealing someone else’s property.” Many people, who were already freed, risked their lives rescuing other slaves and helping them escape because they knew the conditions for them. The introduction of the book also states that many African Americans said anything, even death, was an upgrade from being a slave. They would do anything and be willing to take any type of punishment to be free because of how bad the conditions of being a slave were.

Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad is split into chapters based on the life and experience of well-known slaves such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Sojourner Truth, and lesser-known slaves such as Eliza Harris, Josiah Henson, and more. Personally, I enjoyed reading about the more popular slaves’ narratives rather than the less popular slaves because I already know a little bit of backstory about the more known slaves. Each chapter is very in-depth about the slave’s life and has lots of details that most other books probably didn’t have. Some of the chapters were told in first person narrative, which means it was told in the slaves’ own words. Others were written in the third person narrative, which was their story being told by the author. Personally, I enjoyed reading the first-person parts better because I felt it was way easier to understand and more interesting to read. However, the first-person parts were more descriptive and most likely more reliable because it was the slave himself- or herself speaking. The chapters weren’t too long, averaging around 5 to 10 pages, but some of them felt long. Most of the book just states information without too much action however, there is a little bit of action, for example, the chapter about Frederick Douglass is just filled with him talking about his escape and his experience of being a slave. I found that chapters like those were a lot more interesting and easier to read.

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My favorite chapter was Chapter 11, Frederick Douglass. The chapter is about Frederick Douglass talking about his experience being a slave and fleeing to freedom. The chapter starts out with a little backstory about Frederick Douglass like how he was born in 1818 and died in 1895. It states after he escaped slavery in Maryland, he became a “fierce advocate for abolition” and he wrote articles and gave speeches on the politics of slavery. It then shows the reader a part of his autobiography which he wrote and edited throughout his lifetime about his experiences being a slave and escaping through the Underground Railroad. The autobiography was very interesting and really easy to read. It was actually told by Frederick Douglass himself which made it a lot more fun to read.

Another one of my favorite chapters was the chapter about Harriet Tubman. It starts out with a backstory and what she did to become such a brave hero in history. It starts off by stating she was a slave who escaped but also risked her life many many times to help other slaves escape as well. It then says a little bit of experience she had as a slave and how the conditions are terrible. Then, it tells her stories of how she got other slaves to escape. She helped a lot of people escape from slavery and became very well-known among slaves and slave owners. Throughout the rest of the chapter, more intense stories are told about her helping other slaves escape. I like this chapter because it is also intense and the stories were really well written and fun to read. It’s really inspiring about how many slaves Harriet Tubman helped escape slavery. It was also fun to read because I knew a little about Harriet Tubman before I read the chapter.

Finally, another chapter that I found interesting was the one about Sojourner Truth. Again, this is another well-known slave narrative but I never really knew what Sojourner Truth did. I just heard about her name a couple of times and that is why I found this chapter interesting. Again, the chapter starts out with some background knowledge about Sojourner Truth. It says that she escaped by simply walking away from her owner after he broke his promise to let her be free for one year. Then, it talks about how Sojourner Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition and also some of the things she did. She was so involved in abolition, that she was invited to meet President Abraham Lincoln. Again, it’s really interesting reading about someone who you have heard of a lot but never really knew what she did.

In conclusion, I feel this is a great book to read if you want information about the Underground Railroad and the people involved with it or just slavery in general. I really enjoyed reading this book and reading about all the different experiences these slave narratives had. This is a great book to read before a test or before writing a paper about the underground railroad. The chapters were very descriptive and detailed and really got the point across. The chapters about the more well-known slaves were definitely more fun to read in my opinion but all of the chapters were very good. But I especially liked reading about the people who I have heard of but never really knew what they did or who they were. Going into the book, you shouldn’t expect some high-action stories but expect to read a book with little action, but in-depth information about a whole bunch of different slaves and the Underground Railroad.

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