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Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Genesis 9:25

Bound for Canaan : the underground railroad and the war for the soul of America    New York : Amistad, c 2005  0060524308 Fergus M. Bordewich Fugitive slaves United States History 19th century Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 540 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [508]-519).  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

The civil war brought to a climax the country’s bitter division. But the beginnings of slavery’s denouement can be traced to a band of Americans, black and white, slave and free, who joined forces to create what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad, a movement that occupies as romantic a place in the nation’s mythology as the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The true story of the Underground Railroad is much more morally complex and politically divisive than even the myths suggest. Against a backdrop of the country’s westward expansion arose a fierce clash of values that was nothing less than a war for preserving the freedoms won at Valley Forge and Saratoga and enshrined at Philadelphia in 1878. Not since the American Revolution had the parts of the country engaged in an act of such vast and profound civil disobedience that not only challenged prevailing mores but also subverted federal law.

Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City and Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who used fortunes made by slavery to build the Underground Railroad. Interweaving imagined narratives with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change in the typically liberal attitude of damn the consequences we want it now politics that was born of the French revolution and has continued through the so-called Arab spring.

You will find more preaching and cheer leading than history here and most of the “facts” won’t quite hold up to scrutiny but you are more likely to find this  in your public library than any useful history of the subject.


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