Author Topic: Books getting a buzz: And they are about religion!  (Read 2411 times)


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Re: Books getting a buzz: And they are about religion!
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2019, 03:13:51 PM »
This book is not about religion but I found it a fascinating read and with a fair amount applicability to the current political and social scene. I heartily recommend it. The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War, by Andrew Delbanco, Penguin Press, 2018.

The online Goodreads blurb:
The devastating story of how fugitive slaves drove the nation to Civil War

For decades after its founding, America was really two nations--one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the "united" states was actually a lie. Fugitive slaves exposed the contradiction between the myth that slavery was a benign institution and the reality that a nation based on the principle of human equality was in fact a prison-house in which millions of Americans had no rights at all. By awakening northerners to the true nature of slavery, and by enraging southerners who demanded the return of their human "property," fugitive slaves forced the nation to confront the truth about itself.

By 1850, with America on the verge of collapse, Congress reached what it hoped was a solution-- the notorious Compromise of 1850, which required that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Like so many political compromises before and since, it was a deal by which white Americans tried to advance their interests at the expense of black Americans. Yet the Fugitive Slave Act, intended to preserve the Union, in fact set the nation on the path to civil war. It divided not only the American nation, but also the hearts and minds of Americans who struggled with the timeless problem of when to submit to an unjust law and when to resist.

The fugitive slave story illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.

Definitely!  As it is just coming out in paperback and my local library now has it, the copy I reserved is waiting for my pickup.

A couple of Friday's ago, I heard the author interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air by Terry Gross (a national program produced by my local station).  Interview audio archive and transcript here.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Books getting a buzz: And they are about religion!
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2019, 03:55:51 PM »
I heard that interview on Fresh Air and was intrigued enough to purchase the book on Kindle.
Pr. Daniel Fienen