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The Good Lord Bird
by James McBride




Overview -
Now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

From the bestselling author of Deacon King Kong (an Oprah Book Club pick) and The Color of Water comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade--and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1856--a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces--when legendary abolitionist John Brown arrives. When an argument between Brown and Henry's master turns violent, Henry is forced to leave town--along with Brown, who believes Henry to be a girl and his good luck charm.

Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity to stay alive. Eventually Brown sweeps him into the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

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More About The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

 
 
 

Overview

Now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

From the bestselling author of Deacon King Kong (an Oprah Book Club pick) and The Color of Water comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade--and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1856--a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces--when legendary abolitionist John Brown arrives. When an argument between Brown and Henry's master turns violent, Henry is forced to leave town--along with Brown, who believes Henry to be a girl and his good luck charm.

Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity to stay alive. Eventually Brown sweeps him into the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594632785
  • ISBN-10: 1594632782
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Publish Date: August 2014
  • Page Count: 458
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds


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TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for fiction, The Good Lord Bird by James McBride is an inspired and slightly transgressive take on the story of abolitionist John Brown. The novel is narrated by 12-year-old Henry Shackleford, a Kansas slave Brown mistakes for a girl. When Brown shoots Henry’s owner, the boy joins his band of abolitionists and lives as a female. Brown and his crew cross the country trying to marshal support for their cause, and Henry tags along, bearing witness to meetings with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, as well as the raid on Harpers Ferry. McBride, author of the acclaimed memoir The Color of Water as well as two previous novels, shows a remarkable flair for making events come alive and never shies away from the comic possibilities of the boy’s situation. A wonderfully imaginative retelling of history that’s been compared to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, McBride’s latest is a page-turner thanks to Henry’s unique voice and remarkable coming-of-age experiences.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

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