Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Disappearing Man by Doug Peterson

Do you think you'd ever want to escape so badly that you would put yourself in a small box and have yourself shipped away?


Bay Forest Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  I had a particular interest in it because I had run across an article about this man's escape and I just couldn't imagine doing such a thing.  Yet he did and it's a fact.


This is a fictional account of his life, but the historical fact remains:  Henry "Box" Brown did what he could to become free and reunite himself with his wife and children.  You can read his account here:  http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/boxbrown/boxbrown.html

How anyone could confine himself in a box that is 3 feet long and 2 feet wide is almost beyond my comprehension.  On the other hand, if that's the only way out, you do what you need to do...


I was very interested in seeing how Mr. Peterson expanded this story and how he envisioned Henry's life.  He has done an excellent job of portraying slave life during the day's of the Underground Railroad.  The slave owners are nothing to admire and some of the overseers were malicious and enjoyed whipping the slaves for any excuse, even fictitious ones.


Henry's life was tough, but he was happy to keep a low profile and do what he needed to do to keep his family safe.  He'd had promises broken by white men before, but when they sell his family away from him he had no more hope.


The story of his journey by box to Philadelphia contains fact and fiction both, but it makes very good reading.  I could feel Henry's pain.


This is an excellent read and a very good account of how Henry managed to escape by mail.  Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy.  I know you'll keep reading until you've finished it.  It's well written.


Happy reading!

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