Reviews for Traveling the Freedom Road : From Slavery & the Civil War Through Reconstruction

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #1
*Starred Review* Published in association with the Library of Congress, where Osborne is a senior writer and editor, this fascinating, well-designed volume offers an essential introduction to the experiences of African Americans between 1800 and 1877. Osborne further narrows her topic by focusing on the lives of young people, beginning with the story of teenage sisters who escaped slavery in Washington, D.C., endured recapture, and, after winning their freedom, went on to become active abolitionists. Throughout, Osborne moves from similar, personal stories to broader historical milestones, and in highly accessible language, she provides basic background even as she challenges readers with philosophical questions: "Why did the Constitution, the basic rules that govern the United States, allow slavery in the first place?" This fluid exchange between political events and intimate, human stories creates a highly absorbing whole that is made even stronger by the many young peoples first-person recollections of the time period, culled from primary source materials. These voices create a sense of immediacy that s echoed in the exceptional selection of well-reproduced visuals, including photographs, magazine illustrations, and etchings. A concise time line, source notes, and a bibliography close the chapters. This unique, powerful, and clear overview contains valuable insights for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
Published in association with the Library of Congress, this lavish volume attempts to provide a history of America's peculiar institution from the late colonial days through Reconstruction, using materials from the Library's collections to evoke the experiences of enslaved Americans. There's an astonishing compression at work here, as Osborne moves from explanations of the political zeitgeist and legal machinations that made slavery possible to the words of those affected, taken from contemporary slave narratives and the Depression-era transcripts of the Federal Writers' Project. That no one aspect of the experience can be dealt with at length means that this is of necessity an overview--not an introduction, as the language, particularly that of the primary source materials, is too complex for that. It makes a good foundation for the many fine works that explore more thoroughly subtopics such as the Underground Railroad or plantation life. The handsome design that incorporates a bounty of archival visuals into the presentation is this book's greatest strength; the captions tie these images neatly to the overall narrative. (timeline, notes, bibliography, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 6 Up--The past is brought to life through this exceptional work, replete with fascinating stories, fluid and expressive writing, wrenching personal accounts, and stirring visuals from the Library of Congress collection. The highly readable text documents the journey of a country built on the precept of freedom yet divided by the immorality of slavery. Diaries and interviews turn the facts of slavery into a living, breathing account of painful family separations, the lash of the whip, and the desperation to escape at any cost. The letters and personal essays of children, escaped slaves, abolitionists, and black soldiers, as well as others, lend authenticity to the brave words spoken and deeds accomplished so long ago. News accounts of slave auctions and antislavery almanacs signify the reality of the times. The Black Codes, the Fugitive Slave Law, as well as other legislation, court cases, and amendments are clearly explained, not just for their legal importance but also within the context of the effects they had on those who were enslaved. The inspired text is enhanced by the accompanying high-quality photographs, prints, and drawings. A must-have for all collections.--Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ

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VOYA Reviews 2009 June
Skill is required when offering a book on slavery, a painful component of American history. This book does it well, and it almost seems effortless the way that the author weaves a nonfiction piece that takes readers through the periods of slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction. Osborne makes sure to keep the information flowing and even offers simpler terminology as necessary throughout the text. Not a sentence is wasted, and it is amazing how much information is crammed into a relatively short treatment. The author even makes sure to include quotes from text written by slaves and freemen so that the reader may hear them tell their own stories Along with the rich text, there are plentiful illustrations and photographs that really give the reader a feel for the subject matter. Everything from artwork to actual photographs of newly freed slaves color this book and make it an essential title. Even the pages are designed to look like worn parchment. Rarely does one see a book of this caliber--especially for youth. This book is essential purchase for any library and definitely needs to be on hand for school libraries and public libraries.--Robbie Flowers Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. Chronology. 5Q 3P M J S Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.