Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics)

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9780143039242: Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (Penguin Classics)

Originally published in 1868—when it was attacked as an “indecent book” authored by a “traitorous eavesdropper”—Behind the Scenes is the story of Elizabeth Keckley, who began her life as a slave and became a privileged witness to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Keckley bought her freedom at the age of thirty-seven and set up a successful dressmaking business in Washington, D.C. She became modiste to Mary Todd Lincoln and in time her friend and confidante, a relationship that continued after Lincoln’s assassination. In documenting that friendship—often using the First Lady’s own letters—Behind the Scenes fuses the slave narrative with the political memoir. It remains extraordinary for its poignancy, candor, and historical perspective.

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Only a few years later, however, that relationship was in ruins, when this 1868 book created a scandal. Intended by Keckley to rehabilitate the reputation of the former First Lady--who had run up extensive debts on clothing and other luxuries while in the White House, and found herself unable to repay them after the President's assassination--the book was perceived instead as a betrayal of friendship.

Perhaps one of the first examples of celebrity gossip publishing gone awry, Behind the Scenes does, nevertheless, offer an insider perspective on the Lincoln White House that will intrigue armchair historians and fans of biography alike.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818–1907) was born a slave near Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia, and, after purchasing her freedom, became head of the Domestic Science Department at Wilberforce University in Ohio.
William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of To Tell a Free Story and editor or coeditor of more than thirty books on African American literature.

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This fascinating autobiography describes one woman s life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln s White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, a seamstress and dressmaker who was only a few years removed from being a slave for life , we see historical figures and events ranging from the Lincolns in their private chambers to the return to Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143039242

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This fascinating autobiography describes one woman s life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln s White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, a seamstress and dressmaker who was only a few years removed from being a slave for life , we see historical figures and events ranging from the Lincolns in their private chambers to the return to Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143039242

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This fascinating autobiography describes one woman s life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln s White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, a seamstress and dressmaker who was only a few years removed from being a slave for life , we see historical figures and events ranging from the Lincolns in their private chambers to the return to Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780143039242

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