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In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
Contributor(s): Davis, Kenneth C.
ISBN: 1627793119     ISBN-13: 9781627793117
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: September 2016
Qty:
Annotation: Examines American slavery through the true stories of five enslaved people who were considered the property of some United States presidents.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Slaves; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
African Americans; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Presidents; Relations with African Americans; History; Juvenile literature.
Dewey: 920.0092/96073
LCCN: 2015035204
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.25" W x 1.00" (1.40 lbs) 286 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 185401
Reading Level: 8.2   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 8.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q70067
Reading Level: 10.6   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 13.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Spring)
Davis brings to light the stories of five enslaved individuals who were considered the property of four well-known presidents, raising provocative questions along the way. Timelines, overviews of significant political moments, and primary-source images provide further context. Davis's solid research, accessible prose, and determination to make these stories known give young readers an important alternative to textbook representations of colonial life. Bib., ind. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #5)
Best known for his Don't Know Much About History titles, Davis here presents another view of the American past, bringing to light the stories of five enslaved individuals who were considered the property of four well-known presidents. After a succinct overview of African chattel slavery in the United States, Davis moves into chapters featuring Billy Lee and Ona Judge, enslaved members of George Washington's household. Adroitly weaving what is known of Lee (Washington's lifelong manservant) and Judge (Martha Washington's chambermaid, whose successful escape infuriated the country's first leader) into more commonly known history, Davis gives them voice while also painting a nuanced portrait of Washington. Moving on to the even more complex Thomas Jefferson, we learn not just of Sally Hemings but of Isaac Granger, too, another of "Mr. Jefferson's people." Davis concludes with accounts of Paul Jennings, an enslaved servant of the Madisons, and Alfred, who spent his life toiling for Andrew Jackson. Along the way, Davis raises provocative questions. Are statements giving a positive impression of a slave master sincere or made under duress, to avoid punishment? What are we to make of slavery-advocate Jackson paying Alfred's hefty legal fees when he was on trial for murder? Timelines, overviews of significant political moments, and primary-source images provide further context. Davis's solid research (there are source notes and bibliographies for each chapter), accessible prose, and determination to make these stories known give young readers an important alternative to textbook representations of colonial life. Index unseen. monica edinger

Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

This powerful examination of five enslaved individuals and their presidential owners—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson—delves into these closely interwoven relationships while offering a broader look at America's history with slavery. Although Davis (the Don't Know Much About series) discusses familiar figures such as Sally Hemings and Frederick Douglass, his focus on a few little-known figures—including Billy Lee, Washington's longtime valet, and Paul Jennings, who served James Madison during the War of 1812—delivers an eye-opening vision of "stubborn facts" in American history that are often "swept under the carpet," as Davis notes in his introduction. At the heart of this chronicle is what Davis calls "America's great contradiction," the glaring dichotomy between the presidents' espoused beliefs in equality and their financial, domestic, and even emotional dependency on the individuals they owned. In a thoroughly researched and reasoned account, Davis exposes the intricacies of this impossibly tangled web ("Moral issues aside, the practical problem remained. Even wealthy, powerful men like Madison, Washington, and Jefferson who were considering emancipation couldn't do so without losing their fortunes"), supplemented by timelines, photographs, and other archival materials. Ages 10–14. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 August)

Gr 6 Up—Many are familiar with the lives of the Founding Fathers—their legacies are woven into the very fabric of our nation. Yet Davis peels back the layers of early U.S. history to provide readers with an aspect of the American story that is often ignored. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, images, statistics, and personal accounts, this work gives readers a more complete picture of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson through profiles of the enslaved people they owned. This volume does not shy away from the horrific reality of this portion of U.S. history, nor does it suggest readers should abandon all nostalgic notions of the Founding Fathers. Instead, Davis encourages middle schoolers and older students to use this work as an additional lens to better comprehend the time period and contribute to an improved understanding of current racial tensions. Davis does not disappoint with this title. Compulsively readable, this book follows the narratives of Billy Lee, Ona Judge, Isaac Granger, Paul Jennings, and Alfred Jackson, enhanced with historical context and insight. A time line before each chapter grounds readers in the history without overwhelming them with information. Images serve to complement the text effectively, and an index will make this text useful for research. While this entry is satisfying in its entirety, teachers can easily incorporate sections of the text into the curriculum or have students read different portions. VERDICT This is a must-have selection for any library collection to present alternative takes on history.—Paige Rowse, Needham High School, MA

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