The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes: Enslavement in Southampton County, Virginia


Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Hmg Epublishing LLC
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.53 inches | 0.76 pounds
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Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite - 5 StarsThe American Civil War period was a turning point for interracial relationships in American history. It set in motion the emancipation of slaves and the beginning of the subsequent struggle for equal rights for all Americans, irrespective of skin color. Parson Sykes, a slave resident in Southampton County, Virginia, at the time, uses his self-taught survival skills coupled with the lessons learned from previous slave rebellions and escape attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, to plan his escape from his ruthless owner, Jacob Williams. The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes by David J. Mason is an intimate story of the factors he had to consider in his daring escape plan and the contingencies he set up in the event of capture and almost certain death during those dangerous years.The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes is a work of historical fiction. The Civil War era theme is fascinating as a lot of information concerning the lives of the enslaved and the slave owners is readily available but I daresay not quite like this one. The attention to detail is impressive and following Parson Sykes as he plans his great escape is riveting. David J. Mason did a thorough job on the backstory for the primary character while dove-tailing it smoothly into key historic moments. There is some repetition of details as you read and in one instance it felt like deja vu but it did not affect my understanding of the story. The author does a marvelous job with The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes, a historical fiction masterpiece that students of history can learn a lot from it.

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite: 5 Stars

The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes by David J. Mason is a novel based on the true story of his great-grandfather. Parson Sykes lived in the 19th century in Southampton Country, Virginia, and was born into slavery. Yet, he had a clear vision of his future and what he wanted to achieve in his life - freedom. In 1864, during the Civil War, Parson decided to act and run away with his brothers. The Sykes enrolled in the Union Army, where they discovered that there, too, they had to face prejudice and discrimination against Black soldiers. Mason tells the story of his ancestor in detail and, in addition to giving information about him, offers the reader a detailed historical reconstruction of his time.

The Self-Liberation of Parson Sykes is a splendid novel that, in many ways, comes very close to a historical study. David J. Mason offers the reader a detailed story and a lot of food for thought. Above all, he highlighted his great-grandfather's thirst for freedom very well, making him an outstanding, charismatic character. Moreover, Mason depicts a precise picture of people and events. He represents very well the mentality of Parson's owner, Jacob Williams, and sheds light on the contribution of the Black soldiers to the war. I am convinced that this book will appeal to all readers who love history and are particularly interested in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. This story will allow them to retrace some of those events following the protagonist's journey to freedom.