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Harriet Tubman
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About the Author

Catherine Clinton received an undergraduate degree in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and a PhD in history from Princeton. She has taught at Harvard, Brandeis, Brown, and Wesleyan, and is the author of more than fifteen books. She lives in Connecticut.

Reviews

Just in time for the opening of the Underground Railroad Freedom Center; purportedly the first big adult biography. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Superior. Clinton wisely keeps the focus on Tubman and her remarkable life...This compelling biography brings alive the passion of those tormented times."--Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
"A thrilling reading experience. It expands outward from Tubman's individual story to give a sweeping, historical vision of slavery."--NPR's Fresh Air
"Clinton's well-researched book reveals Harriet Tubman to be even more remarkable than her legend."--Liza Featherstone, Newsday
"A lucid, well-researched biography that contextualizes a remarkable life in all its remarkable accomplishment."--Darryl Lorenzo Wellington, Christian Science Monitor
"Reads more like an adventure tale than a history lesson...This biography provides an in-depth look at Harriet Tubman and holds moments of wonder for readers."--Bernadette Adams Davis, BookPage

Clinton has an extraordinary knack of compressing complex history into an informing brief paragraph or a single sentence, making this "first full-scale biography" of Tubman (1825-1913) a revelation. To the task of illuminating the "difficult to document" life of the woman known as "Moses," Clinton brings her deep immersion in Southern history, women's history and African-American history. Succinctly, she sets the stage upon which Tubman moves, offering just enough biographical detail to give less well-known figures vitality (Mary Shadd Cary gets more space than Frederick Douglass; Union general David Hunter more than William Lloyd Garrison) and just enough historical detail to render Tubman's milieu meaningful (unfamiliar Canadian history gets more space than the familiar Fugitive Slave Acts). Although she often posed as an old woman, Tubman was in her 20s when she began her rescues, and in her mid-30s as the Civil War broke out. Clinton is meticulous (without being annoying) in distinguishing the speculative from the known in Tubman's private life. Of far greater consequence is Clinton's revelation of Tubman's public (though usually clandestine) work. In distinguishing between "runaways" and "fugitives," between "conductors" and "abductors... those who ventured into the South to extract slaves" ("all of them white men" before Tubman), in detailing the extent to which she "never wavered in her support" of John Brown, in chronicling her role in the Combahee River raid, Clinton turns sobriquets into meaningful descriptors of a unique person. In her hands, a familiar legend acquires human dimension with no diminution of its majesty and power. (Feb. 2) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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