In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives

5 CDs. 5:11 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2016. $35. ISBN 9781101891742.
Gr 6 Up—Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson were all slave owners, as were most of the Founding Fathers. Slavery is at the heart of our country's history, and Davis (Don't Know Much About History) addresses this sad fact. His fascinating and informative narrative tells the stories of Billy Lee, Ona Judge, Isaac Granger, Paul Jennings, and Alfred Jackson—all of whom were enslaved by and served presidents. These individuals were witnesses to great events, and most stayed with the owners throughout their lives; however, their stories are seldom told in history books. Davis presents a powerful telling of American history—with no sugarcoating or heartwarming myths. The audiobook is narrated by various individuals, including the author. The text includes biographical information about each president and his life and time in office. Time lines of slavery in U.S. history are outstanding. Together, these features make the recording useful to classroom teachers, who could play chapters related to textbook discussions.
VERDICT A first-rate addition for all libraries. Americans of all ages can benefit from Davis's history lesson. ["Compulsively readable. This is a must-have selection for any library collection to present alternative takes on history": SLJ 8/16 review of the Holt book.]

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