David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass

Photo from the Library of Congress Brady-Handy Collection

I just finished David Blight’s monumental (750 pages) biography “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.” Perhaps a controversial view: It would have been better at half the length, supplemented with 100 to 150 well-curated pages of Douglass’ lectures and writings.

Still, it’s a great work of scholarship, well deserving of the Pulitzer that it won, with deep dives into Abolitionism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and emergence of Jim Crow and lynchings. And, of course, Douglass, perhaps the most remarkable public person of the 19th century, and his family.

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