Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. No book except perhaps Uncle Tom’s Cabin had as powerful an impact on the abolitionist movement as Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. But while Stowe wrote about imaginary characters, Douglass’s book is a record of his own remarkable life.

Born a slave in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland, Douglass taught himself to read and write. In 1845, seven years after escaping to the North, he published Narrative, the first of three autobiographies. This book calmly but dramatically recounts the horrors and the accomplishments of his early years—the daily, casual brutality of the white masters; his painful efforts to educate himself; his decision to find freedom or die; and his harrowing but successful escape.

An astonishing orator and a skillful writer, Douglass became a newspaper editor, a political activist, and an eloquent spokesperson for the civil rights of African Americans. He lived through the Civil War, the end of slavery, and the beginning of segregation. He was celebrated internationally as the leading black intellectual of his day, and his story still resonates in ours.

Robert O’Meally is Zora Neale Hurston Professor of Literature at Columbia University and the Director of Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies. He wrote the introduction and notes to the Barnes & Noble classics edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Book Details
Frederick Douglass
Book Format:
Publication Date:
01 Nov 2003
  • B Corp
  • Black Owned
  • Gives Back
  • Veteran Owned
Reread this since my son is reading it in high school. Such an amazing accomplishment for its time, but still impressive and relevant over 150 years later.
Seminal, first person account of the horrors of human slavery and the darkest stain (of many) on American History. Also, indispensable piece of early American Literature.
A firsthand look at the evils of American slavery through the eyes of an escaped former slave. It is a difficult and sobering read to learn of the atrocities committed for the machine of slavery to continue its task. A powerful voice from a former generation that deserves to be read and heard because not only does it provide helpful and vital information about the past but also provides a strong moral voice to many of our current circumstances.
The book was informative and intense.
Knowing that slavery is wrong, and reading a first hand account of it are two very different things. This is the first time I've read what slavery was like in the first person and at times my eyes became misty just picturing the utter horror of what Fred went through. The fact that this was going on not even 170 years ago, as a totally normal and accepted thing... Well it certainly explains how racism has been passed down through generations, this kind of thing doesn't just go away because the practice of chattel slavery stops. Right after the civil war, the klan appeared all over the south to persecute recently freed slaves and in many cases the klan members were a part of the local police! This is the history of the southern states and as a person who has grown up and live in a southern state, I'm disgusted and appalled that humans treated their fellow human this way. If you ever hear someone say that slavery was just 170 years ago and it has no bearing on present day life, have them read this book.
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ValuesVeteran Owned, Black Owned, Gives Back, B Corp