Frederick Douglass - David W. Blight

Frederick Douglass

By David W. Blight

  • Release Date: 2018-10-16
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 140 Ratings


**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History**

“Extraordinary…a great American biography” (The New Yorker) of the most important African American of the 19th century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this “cinematic and deeply engaging” (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. “Absorbing and even moving…a brilliant book that speaks to our own time as well as Douglass’s” (The Wall Street Journal), Blight’s biography tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. “David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass…a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century” (The Boston Globe).

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Frederick Douglass won the Bancroft, Parkman, Los Angeles Times (biography), Lincoln, Plutarch, and Christopher awards and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Time.


  • Frederick Douglass

    By JRoss509
    Great book. It is very informative and a tribute to one of America’s finest.
  • Outstanding!

    By Aaron Burrell
    Beautifully written, remarkable in its depth, and stirring. This book encapsulates the man, Douglass, in a manner commensurate with his remarkable life and legacy.
  • A Thoughtful and Engaging Read!

    By robert253
    Professor Blight provides a wonderfully engaging and comprehensive biography about the life and times of Frederick Douglass. Douglass, whose life spanned much of the nineteenth century in the United States, documents Douglass’ witness as a “Prophet of Freedom” in response to the horror of slavery and the ways its institutionalization denigrated people of color for generations. Particularly enjoyable are Blight’s accounts of Douglass’ relationships with family and friends as well as colleagues and associates within the abolitionist movement.