Bound for Canaan
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An important book of epic scope on America’s first racially integrated, religiously-inspired political movement for change—The Underground Railroad, a movement peopled by daring heroes and heroines, and everyday folk
For most, the mention of the Underground Railroad evokes images of hidden tunnels, midnight rides, and hairsbreadth escapes. Yet the Underground Railroad’s epic story is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country’s westward expansion,which brought together Easterners who had engaged in slavery primarily in the abstract alongside slaveholding Southerners and their slaves, arose a clash of values that evolved into a fierce fight for nothing less than the country’s soul. Beginning six decades before the Civil War, freedom-seeking blacks and pious whites worked together to save tens of thousands of lives, often at the risk of great physical danger to themselves. Not since the American Revolution had the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only subverted federal law but also went against prevailing mores.
Flawlessly researched and uncommonly engaging, Bound for Canaan, shows why it was the Underground Railroad and not the Civil Rights movement that gave birth to this country’s first racially-integrated, religiously-inspired movement for social change.
An important book of epic scope on America’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for changeThe civil war brought to a climax the country’s bitter division. But the beginnings of slavery’s denouement can be traced to a courageous band of ordinary Americans, black and white, slave and free, who joined forces to create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a movement that occupies as romantic a place in the nation’s imagination as the Lewis and Clark expedition. The true story of the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country’s westward expansion arose a fierce clash of values that was nothing less than a war for the country’s soul. Not since the American Revolution had the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only challenged prevailing mores but also subverted federal law.
Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.
“Well written, moving, and stimulating…Could provide the occasion for a constructive national conversation.” “Well written, moving, and stimulating…Could provide the occasion for a constructive national conversation.” “A vivid reconstruction of abolitionism’s most daring act of rebellion…” “Rich in detail and solid storytelling: sure to awaken interest in the peculiar anti-institution.” “A rich, spellbinding, and readable narrative.” “Rich in detail, [and] its ability to evoke the emotions, sights and sounds of these clandestine ventures.” “Utterly compelling.” “Dramatizes a shining moment in American history– a book filled with unsung heroes and revolutionary acts of trust.” “Bound for Canaan recaptures this grand history with the insightfulness, comprehensiveness, and narrative vigor the subject demands.” “Bound For Canaan reveals in stunning detail and beautiful prose the inner workings of this clandestine system.” “This fast-paced narrative is the best account we have of the network known as the Underground Railroad.” “A masterful story–a deeply American story.” “An excellent book . . .as close to a definitive history as we’re likely to see.” “A profoundly American tale.” “An important addition to our history, brilliantly told.” “Well written, moving, and stimulating…Could provide the occasion for a constructive national conversation.” “Engrossing account of the Underground Railroad.” “The . . stories. . . inspire, horrify and humble.” “Bordewich brings to his account [of the Underghround Railroad] the moral seriousness it deserves.” “Excellent…The first truly comprehensive treatment of the underground railroad.”
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