The Road To Freedom (about Harriet Tubman)

The source that I have chosen for book review is Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton. Harriet Tubman is a name that speaks volumes in anybody’s ears. Her courageous acts will always be remembered and talked about for generations to come. Author of this book, Catherine Clinton was born in Seattle on April 5th, 1952 and wrote the first full-scale biography on Harriet Tubman (The Road to Freedom). The book talks about Harriet Tubman and her courageous exploits as conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman was born into slavery and knew that it was not a way of life nor a life she wanted to live out the rest of her days. While in her twenties and thirties Tubman escaped slavery and went on to make about thirteen different rescue missions saving approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends. She was able to complete these missions due to the network of antislavery activists and their safe houses commonly known as the Underground Railroad.

Documenting these secretive missions and figuring out important facts and details on Harriet Tubman’s life is not an easy thing to accomplish which is why Clinton’s book is so spectacular. The way she is able to take a complex historical topic that is so difficult to document and turn it into one of if not the best and most informing biographies on Harriet Tubman is remarkable. In present time Harriet Tubman is a hero and one of nineteenth-century America’s most enduing and prominent figures. This wasn’t always the case while she was completing her missions. While the people she was rescuing and the people assisting in her rescue missions viewed her as a hero and even referred to her as “Moses” she was also coined many other violent and hurtful nicknames. That is where Clinton comes in and turns those hurtful sobriquets into meaningful references of a very important person. Clinton distinguishes between the terms such as “runaways” and “fugitives” or “conductors” and “abductors”, even “thief” and “trickster” which the slave holders trying to capture her referred to her as. In my opinion there are nothing but strengths in this source, it isn’t referred to as “the best full-scale biography” on Harriet Tubman for no reason. In this biography through careful and extensive research Clinton provides a compelling narrative that shows Harriet Tubman for what she really is, a remarkable complex human being that should never be held to simple categorization. Her argument is nothing less than convincing and when you finish reading it you will have even more respect and admiration for the American hero known as Harriet Tubman; and if you don’t agree with what she is writing or the points she is making then you must have been reading the wrong biography. This source will be very important in my cover letter and the information and knowledge I gained will not be forgotten.