Cover image for Be Free or Die
Title:
Be Free or Die

The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero
Author:
Lineberry, Cate
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography
History
African American Nonfiction
Nonfiction
Description:
***Finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize***Henry Louis Gates, Jr: "A stunning tale of a little-known figure in history."Candice Millard: "Be Free or Die makes you want to stand up and cheer."The astonishing true story of Robert Smalls' amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman.It was a mild May morning in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, when a twenty-three-year-old slave named Robert Smalls did the unthinkable and boldly seized a Confederate steamer. With his wife and two young children hidden on board, Smalls and a small crew ran a gauntlet of heavily armed fortifications in Charleston Harbor and delivered the valuable vessel and the massive guns it carried to nearby Union forces. To be unsuccessful was a death sentence for all. Smalls' courageous and ingenious act freed him and his family from slavery and immediately made him a Union hero while simultaneously challenging much of the country's view of what African Americans were willing to do to gain their freedom. After his escape, Smalls served in numerous naval campaigns off Charleston as a civilian boat pilot and eventually became the first black captain of an Army ship. In a particularly poignant moment Smalls even bought the home that he and his mother had once served in as house slaves.Cate Lineberry's Be Free or Die is a compelling narrative that illuminates Robert Smalls' amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman. This captivating tale of a valuable figure in American history gives fascinating insight into the country's first efforts to help newly freed slaves while also illustrating the many struggles and achievements of African Americans during the Civil War.
Publisher:
St. Martin's Publishing Group

St. Martin's Press
Date:
2017/06/20
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

***Finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize***

Henry Louis Gates, Jr: "A stunning tale of a little-known figure in history."

Candice Millard: "Be Free or Die makes you want to stand up and cheer."

The astonishing true story of Robert Smalls' amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman.

It was a mild May morning in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1862, the second year of the Civil War, when a twenty-three-year-old slave named Robert Smalls did the unthinkable and boldly seized a Confederate steamer. With his wife and two young children hidden on board, Smalls and a small crew ran a gauntlet of heavily armed fortifications in Charleston Harbor and delivered the valuable vessel and the massive guns it carried to nearby Union forces. To be unsuccessful was a death sentence for all. Smalls' courageous and ingenious act freed him and his family from slavery and immediately made him a Union hero while simultaneously challenging much of the country's view of what African Americans were willing to do to gain their freedom.

After his escape, Smalls served in numerous naval campaigns off Charleston as a civilian boat pilot and eventually became the first black captain of an Army ship. In a particularly poignant moment Smalls even bought the home that he and his mother had once served in as house slaves.

Cate Lineberry's Be Free or Die is a compelling narrative that illuminates Robert Smalls' amazing journey from slave to Union hero and ultimately United States Congressman. This captivating tale of a valuable figure in American history gives fascinating insight into the country's first efforts to help newly freed slaves while also illustrating the many struggles and achievements of African Americans during the Civil War.


Author Notes

CATE LINEBERRY is a journalist and the author of The Secret Rescue, a #1 Wall Street Journal e-book bestseller and a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. Lineberry was previously a staff writer and editor for National Geographic Magazine and the web editor for Smithsonian Magazine . Her work has also appeared in the New York Times . Lineberry lives in Raleigh, NC.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Robert Smalls, a slave living in Charleston, SC, commandeered a Confederate naval vessel in 1862, sailed past fortified Confederate strongholds, and delivered the ship and its guns to the Union Navy. Journalist Lineberry (The Secret Rescue) successfully charts Smalls's (1839-1915) epic and dangerous voyage, illuminating the many roles Smalls played in garnering freedom for enslaved African Americans. The author provides ample evidence to suggest that Smalls was instrumental in advancing the mind-set of many colonists concerning what enslaved people were willing to do to aid themselves and their families. Lineberry parallels Smalls's actions with other events occurring throughout the country, bringing to life the multiple moving parts and politics that went into furthering the cause for African American participation in the Union military-a strategy that eventually assisted in the Union victory. VERDICT A valuable narrative history that will benefit readers interested in African American, Civil War, or naval history.-Rachel Koenig, SUNY Canton Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.