Monday, February 1, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Liberty or death: The surprising story of runaway slaves who sided with the British by Margaret Whitman Blair

This is probably not the American Revolution you were taught about in school. This is the other side of the story; the story of thousands of African Americans, slave and free, who also fought for liberty -- against the colonists.

Blair weaves a historical narrative that follows the tragic stories of thousands of African-Americans who fought for the freedom the colonists refused to give them. They were enslaved by the colonists, betrayed by the British, and suffered discrimination at the hands of the Loyalists they had supported. But they never gave up the struggle for their freedom.

This is a complex historical and political narrative, told in excellent expository style. The reader not only gets an in-depth picture of the forces of prejudice, economics, and politics that the slaves fought against, it also profiles the historical figures that played a part in this story.

Verdict: Hand this book to middle school and high school students who are interested in history - and to students who don't think history is interesting. Read it yourself to get an important look at a portion of our nation's history you may have missed. And, of course, pair it with Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains.

ISBN: 978-1426305900; Published January 2010 by National Geographic; Borrowed from the library

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