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The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad

by Larry Gara

Availablepaperback$30.00x 978-0-8131-0864-3
Out of Printpaperback$0.00x 978-0-8131-0115-6
216 pages  Pubdate: 03/01/1996  5.5 x 8.5  

" The underground railroad—with its mysterious signals, secret depots, abolitionist heroes, and slave-hunting villains—has become part of American mythology. But legend has distorted much of this history. Larry Gara shows how pre-Civil War partisan propanda, postwar remininscences by fame-hungry abolitionists, and oral tradition helped foster the popular belief that a powerful secret organization spirited floods of slaves away from the South. In contrast to much popular belief, however, the slaves themselves had active roles in their own escape. They carried out their runs, receiving aid only after they had reached territory where they still faced return. The Liberty Line puts slaves in their rightful position: the center of their struggle for freedom.

"History has been utterly wrong in ascribing to the abolitionist movement a thoroughgoing and smoothly run underground transportation system for runaway slaves. In The Liberty Line , the legend's ghost is fortunately and finally exorcised, and about time." Saturaday Review

"The book is an unusually valuable piece of academic research. Well written, on an important subject, it provides salutary correction to a well-entrenched myth." Chicago Tribune

A classic. -- New York Times

Larry Gara’s Liberty Line, published in 1961, is unquestionably the most influential book on the Underground Railroad of the last 50 years. -- World History