The author of Race and Reunion (which won the Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, and Bancroft Prizes) here presents a dual biography of two escaped slaves, based on recently discovered first-person accounts. Wallace Turnage was a teenage field hand on an Alabama plantation; John Washington was an urban slave in Virginia. Though they never met, both escaped to the North in the chaos of the Civil War. David Blight reconstructs Wallace's and John's childhoods, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the North.
"Two remarkable lives, previously lost, emerge with startling clarity.... A precious commodity."—NYTimes