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Publisher's Summary

Did you know that many of America's Founding Fathers - who fought for liberty and justice for all - were slave owners?
Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were "owned" by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country's great tragedy - that a nation "conceived in liberty" was also born in shackles.
These stories help us know the real people who were essential to the birth of this nation but traditionally have been left out of the history books. Their stories are true - and they should be heard.
Read by Ken Davis, with Frankie Faison, Keith David, JD Jackson, Adenrele Ojo, Adam Lazarre-White, Dion Graham, and Mark Bramhall.
©2016 Kenneth C. Davis (P)2016 Listening Library
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Virgil P Gaiter on 11-03-16


I enjoyed this book and the history that it provides to the white washed history of America. I grew up as a historical scholar I knew American history as well as my other white classmates. During my sophomore year in high school my school district in Georgia started having black history courses. I rushed to sign up to test my knowledge with other classmates. After the first day I found out how ignorant I was about my own history and how it was a major part of American history. From that point I've read and studied about African American history to buli

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Kevin on 12-19-17

You're left wanting more, but there isn't any.

What made the experience of listening to In the Shadow of Liberty the most enjoyable?

I particularly loved how some of the major events were described in different chapters and from different perspectives. This was a smart move on the author's part because it helped to flesh the incomplete account of these people's lives. It also helped to place these people into the larger narrative of American history.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Shadow of Liberty?

The story about George Washington's personal servant and the story of his wife's personal servant were particularly compelling and seemed to be the most thorough. Those parts will stick with me.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator's changed, and that was refreshing. You don't feel stuck with a certain narrator you may not enjoy. Also, it helped to give each story its own voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by what wasn't stated. These are slaves we know of because they were associated with famous men, yet we still don't know much about them. There's just something so sad slave stories that no author can convey--even in the cases where former slaves tell their own stories.

Any additional comments?

The book seemed a bit patronizing at points when giving definitions of words or concepts that most readers would know. Maybe I missed the part about it being a book written for an 8th grade history class. Also, there were a few lines and/or line reads that seemed a bit judgemental and heavy-handed. I don't necessarily want anyone to let these men off the hook for the role they played in the perpetuation of slavery, but I would much rather hear the author delve into that in a more meaningful way than just sarcastically reading a line about how Jefferson viewed his slaves as "family."

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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