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In the Shadow of Liberty : The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
by Kenneth C. Davis


Overview -

Did you know that many of America s Founding Fathers who fought for liberty and justice for all were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were owned by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America.  Read more...


 
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More About In the Shadow of Liberty by Kenneth C. Davis
 
 
 
Overview

Did you know that many of America s Founding Fathers who fought for liberty and justice for all were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were owned by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country s great tragedy that a nation conceived in liberty was also born in shackles.

These stories help us know the real people who were essential to the birth of this nation but traditionally have been left out of the history books. Their stories are true and they should be heard.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781627793117
  • ISBN-10: 1627793119
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: September 2016
  • Page Count: 304
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-15
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > People & Places - United States - African-American
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > History - United States/Colonial & Revolutionary
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-09-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

This powerful examination of five enslaved individuals and their presidential ownersWashington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jacksondelves into these closely interwoven relationships while offering a broader look at America's history with slavery. Although Davis (the Don't Know Much About series) discusses familiar figures such as Sally Hemings and Frederick Douglass, his focus on a few little-known figuresincluding Billy Lee, Washington's longtime valet, and Paul Jennings, who served James Madison during the War of 1812delivers an eye-opening vision of "stubborn facts" in American history that are often "swept under the carpet," as Davis notes in his introduction. At the heart of this chronicle is what Davis calls "America's great contradiction," the glaring dichotomy between the presidents' espoused beliefs in equality and their financial, domestic, and even emotional dependency on the individuals they owned. In a thoroughly researched and reasoned account, Davis exposes the intricacies of this impossibly tangled web ("Moral issues aside, the practical problem remained. Even wealthy, powerful men like Madison, Washington, and Jefferson who were considering emancipation couldn't do so without losing their fortunes"), supplemented by timelines, photographs, and other archival materials. Ages 1014. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary. (Sept.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The tragic tales of the presidents' slaves

How exactly does slavery fit into our nation’s history? Middle and high school students will have a much better understanding after reading In the Shadow of Liberty by Kenneth C. Davis, bestselling author of the Don’t Know Much About series. 

After introductory chapters describe how slavery became part of the country’s economy, Davis provides detailed stories of the slaves of four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Andrew Jackson. And what fascinating, ultimately tragic tales they are. Billy Lee was the valet who accompanied Washington across the Delaware and at Valley Forge, and he can be seen in the background of several famous paintings. Ona Judge was Martha Washington’s personal servant who ran away to New Hampshire. Isaac Granger was captured by the British as a young boy to become one of “Master Jefferson’s people” and was a witness to Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown. Paul Jennings was James Madison’s personal servant and later wrote what is considered to be the first White House memoir. Alfred Jackson, who died a free man, told tales to museum visitors of his life as Andrew Jackson’s slave.

Davis addresses head-on the irony that these presidential defenders of liberty and equality kept slaves. He backs up his discussion with a variety of photos, illustrations and helpful timelines. In the Shadow of Liberty provides an informative read about a subject that’s not always fully addressed in the classroom.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews