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The Resource Harriet Tubman : imagining a life, Beverly Lowry

Harriet Tubman : imagining a life, Beverly Lowry

Label
Harriet Tubman : imagining a life
Title
Harriet Tubman
Title remainder
imagining a life
Statement of responsibility
Beverly Lowry
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Review
  • No escaped slave's story grips the American imagination as deeply as Harriet Tubman's, with the melodrama and near mythic grandeur of her frequent returns to slave territory to rescue her family members and scores of others. Since Tubman (1822–1913) never learned to read or write, her story comes second or third hand, offering researchers a challenge and creative nonfiction writers an opportunity. Lowry, a novelist and author of a re-creation of the life of the first African-American woman entrepreneur, Madame C.J. Walker (Her Dream of Dreams , 2003), "reimagined" Tubman's life in four parts: her childhood as a field slave called Araminta; her marriage, escape and early "rescues" when she was known as Harriet; her legendary Underground Railroad years when she was called Moses; the Civil War years when she was scout and courier for the Union army (John Brown dubbed her "the General"); and her postbellum work with emancipated slaves. Lowry carries the reader through the milestones without slipping into a morass of detail, through legal thickets (largely created by treating persons as property) and Tubman's encounters with many abolitionists without meandering. Tubman's life invites imagining, and Lowry's reader-friendly book, which "does not pretend to be a work of intense scholarship," presents her story with a novelist's sense of pace, suspense and speculation. (Apr. 17) --Staff (Reviewed January 8, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 2, p41)
  • There are numerous biographies of Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who helped more than 300 others to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Although the inclusion of historical documents like letters and slave auction notices may generate interest, Lowry's account of Tubman's life is a patchwork of anecdotes, historical records, questions, and suppositions, resulting in a distracting mix. Attempts to imagine Tubman's schedule of activities or how she felt when her marriage to John Tubman ended do not truly add to an understanding of who Tubman was or what she endured. Those who don't mind fact-based lore or are fans of Lowry's fiction (e.g., Breaking Gentle ) and nonfiction (e.g., Crossed Over ) may appreciate her "reimagined" biography, but others should stick to Kate Clifford Larson's dramatic and responsible Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of a Hero or Catherine Clinton's Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (both in Lowry's selected bibliography). Recommended where demand merits. (Maps and index not seen.)—Tonya Briggs, Oberlin Coll. Lib., OH --Tonya Briggs (Reviewed April 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 7, p97)
  • A speculative biography, told mostly through imagined scenes, of the Underground Railroad's most famous conductor.Tubman (c. 1819–1913) never learned to read or write; her memories have all been recorded and interpreted by others. Lowry (Creative Nonfiction/George Mason Univ.; Her Dream of Dreams, 2003, etc.) deals with the documentation problems this creates by acknowledging inconsistencies in the records, considering their sources and then choosing what seems most probable to her. Words like "presumably," "may have," "might" and "probably" appear frequently. Throughout, the reader learns as much about slavery, the Underground Railroad, abolitionists, the Civil War in the Carolinas and emancipation as about Tubman. We do learn that she was struck in the head as a child on Maryland's Eastern Shore and thereafter experienced narcolepsy, had visions and heard voices. We see her as an overworked child, as an enterprising young woman and as a determined runaway who escaped to the North in 1849. Once there, she saw it as her responsibility to help others. Confident that God was directing her work, she made numerous trips back, acting as guide and commander to hundreds of slaves. How she accomplished this without being captured remains unclear, although she seems to have established a large network through which she could send messages and raise funds. During the Civil War, Tubman put her organizational, navigational and intelligence skills to use as a nurse, spy and scout for the Union in the Carolinas. After the war, she spent 30 years trying to obtain retroactive pay and a pension, finally succeeding when she was 77. Lowry swiftly moves through Tubman's later years. It is for her midlife feats that she is remembered, and those accomplishments and the circumstances surrounding them are well depicted here.Creative nonfiction from a writer well-versed in the genre. (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2007)
Biography type
individual biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
212495
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lowry, Beverly
Dewey number
  • 973.7/115092
  • B
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
LC call number
E444.T82
LC item number
L68 2007
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Tubman, Harriet
  • Slaves
  • African American women
  • Underground Railroad
  • Antislavery movements
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
imagining a life
Label
Harriet Tubman : imagining a life, Beverly Lowry
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [391]-404) and index
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
x, 418 p.
Isbn
9780385502917
Lccn
2006024778
Other physical details
ill., maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385502917
  • (OCoLC)70830995
Label
Harriet Tubman : imagining a life, Beverly Lowry
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [391]-404) and index
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
x, 418 p.
Isbn
9780385502917
Lccn
2006024778
Other physical details
ill., maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385502917
  • (OCoLC)70830995

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
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      33.38561 -84.669793
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
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      33.297709 -84.561283

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