Review by Choice Review

Bennett (Long Island Univ.) pairs writings of 19th-century African and European Americans for a fresh analysis of the "logic and moral power" of antebellum discourse. He offers a complex yet lively reading of the interconnections between the works of Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Walt Whitman, and Margaret Fuller and Sojourner Truth and between their treatment of such subjects as race, body, gender, economics, and aesthetics. Bennett provides creative insights into how these authors dug around at the roots of slave-holding society and unearthed the realities needed to expose their democratic country's deficiencies and possibilities. A pioneering addition to the analysis of abolitionist literature, this study elucidates both the very nature of democracy and the richness of the debate from slave and non-slave perspectives. It creates a dialogical space between discourses--a rhetorical strategy useful for analysis of current discourses, but not available to even the best books focusing on abolition rhetoric of single authors such as Stephen Howard Browne's Angelina Grimke: Rhetoric, Identity, and the Radical Imagination (CH, Jul'00, 37-6094). ^BSumming Up: Essential. All readers; all collections. T. B. Dykeman formerly, Fairfield University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.