Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.2 X 9.6 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Eric Foner is the author of many award-winning books on the Civil War and Reconstruction, including The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He is DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University.

Reviews invaluable addition to our history.--Kevin Baker
Mandatory, and riveting, reading.--Sam Roberts
Foner's gripping account of slaves' struggles to free themselves reveals the immense risks they, and their sympathizers, took to escape bondage.
[A] detailed narrative... infused with the spirit of freedom.--Bruce Watson
Excellent... Mr. Foner, bringing to bear his well-honed research skills and his deep knowledge of slavery and race relations... vividly describes the key part that New York City played in the operations of the Underground Railroad... he merits high praise for contributing sold information and thoughtful analysis to the history of this shadowy, extensive network.--David S. Reynolds
Once again, Eric Foner as scholar shakes American history and alters as he also rebuilds one of its foundations. Making brilliant use of an extraordinary, little-known document, Foner, with his customary clarity, tells the enlightening story of the thousands of fugitive slaves who journeyed to freedom along the eastern corridor of the United States. Many stories of individual courage illuminate a network of operatives both formal and informal that played a powerful role in causing sectional conflict and the Civil War.--David W. Blight, author of the forthcoming Frederick Douglass: A Life
With remarkable new research and keen insight, Eric Foner vividly narrates stories of courage and resourcefulness by the men and women who helped antebellum slaves escape to freedom. Foner deftly illuminates the importance of the underground railroad in provoking southern leaders into issuing ultimatums that would culminate in civil war.--Alan Taylor, author of The Internal Enemy
A terrific and powerful story.--Billy Heller
[Foner] carries the reader along, as if galloping through a valley of subterfuge and salvation that might also doom freedom at any time. Foner crucially delineates the profound challenge and existential risk that engulfed an interracial generation as the nation thundered toward dissolution, or Civil War.--Kevin Lynch
Will continue to be read as long as Americans, perilously free, journey north.--Richard Kreitner
Bring[s] to bear the insights of a long and distinguished career writing about the Civil War and Reconstruction eras and a sharp sense of the ironies that involuntary servitude posed for a nation that proclaimed itself to be built on principles of liberty... highly readable.--Michael D. Schaffer
Eric Foner has won a place in the front rank of American historians with books that seem to vacuum up all available sources to produce bold new interpretations of the country's reckoning with the big questions of slavery and freedom.--Jennifer Schuessler
Riveting... Foner creates a visceral chronicle of defiance and sacrifice.--Edward P. Jones
Quite an accomplishment... this narrative is dramatic and compelling and certainly will provide readers with a deep understanding of the workings of the Underground Railroad.--David Hugh Smith
Tells a story that will surprise most readers...[a] compelling narrative.--Adam Goodheart turns scholarly and gripping.--Alexander Nazaryan
Gateway to Freedom liberates the history of the underground railroad from the twin plagues of mythology and cynicism. The big picture is here, along with telling details from previously untapped sources. With lucid prose and careful analysis, Eric Foner tells a story that is at once unsparing and inspiring. For anyone who still wonders what was at stake in the Civil War, there is no better place to begin than Gateway to Freedom.--James Oakes, author of Freedom National