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Noteworthy slavery titles.

Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World by Thomas C. Buchanan University of North Carolina Press, November 2004 $32.50, ISBN 0-807-82909-9

Although the scope of the book goes beyond the subject of escapes, the relative freedoms provided by these floating workplaces and the potential for stowing away contributed to many successful flights. The author, an assistant professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, devotes a considerable portion of the book to the risks and the opportunities of this "underground" route.

Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad: the War for the Soul of America by Fergus Bordewich, Amistad/HarperOollins, April 2005, $27.95 ISBN 0-060-52430-8; Audio CD, HarperAudio; Unabridged edition, April 2005, $29.95, ISBN 0-060-76064-8

The author, who grew up hearing of the Underground, greatly adds to our store of knowledge in this analysis of its operations. He traces its origins, its workings and its participants. The book is not only rich in historical detail, but also in its ability to evoke the emotions, sights and sounds of these clandestine ventures.

Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad and Beyond by Betty De Ramus, Atria Books February 2005 $25, ISBN 0-743-48263-8

A journalist's research recasts the story of self-emancipation as one that was often undertaken for the sake of love, especially to keep marriages and families intact. She tells of lovers, mostly African American but some interracial, who faced great risks, sometimes even falling back into slavery to stay with or join each other.

Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory edited by David W. Blight, Smithsonian Books, August 2004, $39.95, ISBN 1-588-34157-7

This volume is at once perhaps the most accessible and the most definitive in placing the Underground Railroad in accurate historical context. It was published in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati to coincide with the opening of the museum. It includes essays by 15 distinguished historians and more than 250 images.

The Pearl: A Failed Slave Escape on the Potomac by Josephine F. Pacheco, University of North Carolina Press, February 2005 $29.95, ISBN 0-807-82918-8

This book gives rare insight into slavery in the nation's capital, as well as legal battles following this unusual escape attempt in 1848. It tells the story of a bold but botched effort in which 76 slaves from Washington, D.C., boarded a schooner, The Pearl, and headed toward the Chesapeake Bay, hoping to reach Pennsylvania.

Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett by James A. McGowan, McFarland & Company (revised edition) January 2005, $45, ISBN 0-786-41760-9

First published in 1977, this story of a white Quaker abolitionist in Wilmington, Delaware, challenges some notions about the system.
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Title Annotation:Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Bibliography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Previous Article:Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad.
Next Article:American slavery: the ties that bind: newest studies lay bare the painful facts of an ignoble history.

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