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The Good Lord Bird

McBride, James (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Good Lord Bird
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"Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town--with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry--whom Brown nicknames Little Onion--conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival." -- Publisher's description. Henry is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857. When his master has a violent argument with John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he is a girl. Concealing his true identity as he struggles to stay alive, Henry is swept up in the events at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Fleeing his violent master at the side of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
Authors: McBride, James, 1957-
Title: The Good Lord Bird
Publisher: New York, New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2013.
Characteristics: 417 pages ;,24 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Contents: Free Deeds (Kansas). Meet the lord ; The good lord bird ; The old man's army ; Massacre ; Nigger Bob ; Prisoner again ; Black Jack ; A bad omen ; A sign from God.
Slave Deeds (Missouri). A real gunslinger ; Pie ; Sibonia ; Insurrection ; A terrible discovery ; Squeezed ; Busting out.
Legend (Virginia). Rolling into history ; Meeting a great man ; Smelling ike bear ; Rousing the hive ; The plan ; The spy ; The word ; The rail man ; Annie ; The things heaven sent ; Escape ; Attack ; A bowl of confusion ; Un-hiving the bees ; Last stand ; Getting gone.
Summary: "Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town--with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry--whom Brown nicknames Little Onion--conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival." -- Publisher's description.
Henry is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857. When his master has a violent argument with John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he is a girl. Concealing his true identity as he struggles to stay alive, Henry is swept up in the events at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
Fleeing his violent master at the side of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
Awards & Distinctions: National Book Award for Fiction, 2013
Local Note: 6 9 15 16 17 18 24 27 29 33 35 37 53 57 60 64 71 77 80 97 102 109 112 113 118 122 127 133 138 143 148 150 151 152 156 167 172 182 193 198 203 205 210 211 216 222 226 228 231 242 243 244 245 250 264 274
ISBN: 1594486344
9781594486340
Statement of Responsibility: James McBride
Subject Headings: Harpers Ferry (W. Va.) History John Brown's Raid, 1859 Fiction. Abolitionists Fiction. Fugitive slaves United States Fiction. Brown, John, 1800-1859 Fiction.
Genre/Form: Historical fiction.
Historical fiction
Topical Term: Harpers Ferry (W. Va.)
Abolitionists
Fugitive slaves
LCCN: 2013004014
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While waiting to read this I will mention that there is a non-fiction book called A Voice from Harper's Ferry by Osborne P. Anderson "a Black revolutionary who was there" which is very enlightening also.

Jun 08, 2014
  • Laphroaig rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I like to think that ivory-billed woodpeckers are still out there, tearing down the rotten and corrupt in order to nourish and sustain healthy new growth.

Jun 04, 2014
  • JCLMELODYK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Nothing funnier than a cross-dressing slave boy riding the circuit with crazy ole John Brown. Offensive, hilarious, violent and sad, James McBride fills the Kansas Territory with characters straight out of a Mel Brooks movie and then throws in a dash of Quentin Tarantino for good measure. How McBride managed to weave Harriet Tubman in to the buffoonery without offending the reader is beyond me. I highly recommend!

Feb 24, 2014
  • GummiGirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Unexpectedly funny, given that it's mostly true to the history of the events. I'll definitely want to read McBride's other books now.

As with most fiction, I was initally bored by the series of made-up vignettes (read: movie script scenes) that make up the first half of the book. But McBride is an accomplished writer, and the story told in this historical fiction eventually supported his worthy observations on race relations and personhood. I warmed to the tale featuring the disguised slave boy Onion's involvement with the zealot abolitionist John Brown, to the extent that I may now seek out what I'd normally prefer: a non-fiction account of Brown and his quixotic raid on Harper's Ferry.

By the way, it gives away nothing to note that the Good Lord Bird is not a lord, but a bird.

Dec 10, 2013
  • ssjhung rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Initially I did not intend to read the book because the plot did not interest me, until it won the National Book Award in November. I am very glad to say that I read the book. It is adventurous and interesting, and touching and funny. It is a very easy read, although slightly tedious in the middle. It is one of the few best books I have read this year, and well deserves the Award.

Oct 16, 2013
  • lilly29 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

James McBride out did himself. This story is funny and interesting. It almost sounds true. The main character, Onion, tells us the truth of life and how people would rather fake through life then be 'a man'. I was glad at the end that Mr. McBride decided that Onion would 'man up' to live his own life.

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