Review by Choice Review
These 15 essays examining the abolitionist movement dispute older notions that abolition was largely a white movement led by the eastern-dominated Garrisonians and a number of white religious evangelists in the contemporary West. Rather, editors Stauffer and McCarthy (both, Harvard Univ.) conclude that the abolitionist movement was a series of interracial events dating from prior to the American Revolution, and was possibly influenced by early British reformers. The writings examine events such as the impact of the American Colonization Society and the singular but confusing career of John Brown Russwurm as he moved between seemingly contradictory positions as both abolitionist and exponent of black exodus from the US to Liberia and Haiti. The apparent contradictions within the scope and career of John Brown are examined, as are the colorful, interesting lives of Sojourner Truth and Louisa May Alcott. Concluding these analyses of abolition is the influence of Hollywood from Birth of a Nation, Souls at Sea, and Santa Fe Trail to the more contemporary Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Amistad. A most interesting collection of essays. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. D. Born Jr. emeritus, Wichita State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Perspectives on abolitionists have changed over the generations, reflecting the changes in perspective on race--and class and gender--in America. This collection of essays by historians explores how scholarship on abolitionism has expanded beyond portraits of influential white males to blacks and women, beyond the historically assigned beginnings with William Lloyd Garrison in 1831 back to the American Revolution, and beyond U.S. soil to Britain. Contributors cite in the abolitionist fervor the nascent black-nationalist and feminist movements and offer new perspectives on prominent figures, including Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, as well as reflections in popular culture, then and now. The book is organized into four parts: revisions, showing how histories of abolitionism have evolved; origins, examining how the movement began and its interracial features; revolutions, focusing on John Brown; and representations, the rhetorical and aesthetic strategies employed to win hearts and minds to the cause. Though written by leading historians, the collection is highly accessible to general readers and offers a fresh perspective on the most powerful social movement of the nineteenth century. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2006 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.