History David Katz Breaking the Chains

ISBN 13: 9780689314933

Breaking the Chains

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9780689314933: Breaking the Chains

Describes slavery in the United States, the harsh conditions under which slaves lived, the active and passive resistance with which they fought for their rights, the revolts, and the involvement of slaves in the Civil War.

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From Publishers Weekly:

American history books tend to gloss over the heroism of slaves prior to and during the Civil War; after all, most contemporaneous accounts of slavery were written by those who profited from it--the slave owners. Katz, however, masterfully steers the reader step by step through the astonishing forms of resistance, both active and passive, offered by blacks--free men as well as slaves. Here the victims of injustice and cruelty speak for themselves: "So galling was our bondage, that to escape from it, we suffered the loss of all things, and braved every peril, and endured every hardship," a fugitive slave testifies. Famous mentors, such as Dred Scott, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, are vividly depicted, as are anonymous resisters: men and women who secretly preserved their African heritage; others who sent hidden messages to one another through drumbeats or took heart from the liberating themes of gospel songs; mothers who hid children in the woods to prevent the master from selling them. Several lengthy, informative chapters document black participation in the Civil War. The only weak spot is Katz's discussion of the transatlantic voyages of the slave ships, which could have been more detailed. And while the language is perhaps too difficult for its youngest targeted readers, this powerful and authentic collection will be welcomed by those seeking to reclaim the truth behind their heritage. Illustrated with prints and photos. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9-12-- This book will force many readers to reexamine their assumptions about American history. Katz's objective is to lay to rest, through the use of primary-source material, widely accepted myths about the institution of slavery in the U. S. According to Katz, those myths--that slaves loved their masters and were happy in their bondage, and that (with few exceptions) blacks never rebelled or vociferously protested their situation--were perpetrated by white slave owners and given credence by their acceptance by noted historians. The power of the text's content is made even more impressive by the many black-and-white photographs and reproductions. Katz gives a touching yet compelling picture of slave life on plantations and in cities. He includes interesting and little-known bits of black history, such as the alliance between blacks and native Americans, as well as rare moments of humor. Tracing the history of slavery from its American inception through the Civil War, Katz does an admirable job of showing the impact of this "peculiar institution" not only on such areas as music and religion, but on the whole fabric of American history and race relations. Young adults will be fascinated and better informed for having experienced this book. --Rosie Peasley, Somerset School, Modesto, CA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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