Bound for Canaan by Fergus Bordewich
The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America

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Synopsis

An important book of epic scope on America's first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for change

The 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.

 

About Fergus Bordewich

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Fergus M. Bordewich is the author of several books, among them "Washington: The Making of the American Capital "and "Bound for Canaan, "a national history of the Underground Railroad. As a journalist he has written widely on political and cultural subjects in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. His articles have appeared in "The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, American Heritage, The Atlantic, "and many other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 576 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Things became more complicated when slave states and free states butted heads: for instance, when free blacks in Cincinnati surrounded slaves on the way to Kentucky and urged them not to go any farther, and when a Philadelphia court ruled that the slave of a South Carolina senator resident in the...

Jan 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Bound for Canaan: The Undergr...

Publishers Weekly

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Religious extremists, left-wing radicals and virulent racists all emerge as fully realized characters, flawed but determined people doing what they believed was right, and every chapter has at least one moment—a detail, a vignette, a description—that will transport readers to the world Bordewich ...

Jan 31 2005 | Read Full Review of Bound for Canaan: The Undergr...

Bookmarks Magazine

Jack Brubaker San Francisco Chronicle 3.5 of 5 Stars "Bordewich’s story is a discovery of scores of people whose names are scarce or nonexistent in history books but whose remarkable actions, taken together, would shape the face of the nation."

Jan 09 2008 | Read Full Review of Bound for Canaan: The Undergr...

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