• Frederick Douglass

  • The Story of an American Slave
  • By: Frederick Douglass
  • Narrated by: Jim Hodges
  • Length: 4 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (803 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Enter the world of a slave, with all the pathos, brutal honesty, and striving of the heart to breathe free.

Frederick Douglass was born in slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. During service to masters cruel and kind, he nevertheless learned to read and write. After suffering whippings, hunger, heat, cold, and grueling labor, he escaped from slavery in 1838. In 1841 he addressed an Anti-Slavery Society convention and spoke so eloquently that they immediately employed him as an agent. He was such an impressive orator, numerous persons doubted if he had ever been a slave. In response, he wrote this, his first autobiography.

Public Domain (P)2014 Jim Hodges Productions

What listeners say about Frederick Douglass

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Most timely

I would have given this an all over 5-star rating for its importance in today's ugly view of American Christianity (which doesn't look very Christian from many corners of this country), but for the narration. This could be done it's heroic due if in a proper voice. The narrator is fine as narrators go, but this particular book deserves the refined male black voice of a James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman, refined and educated without losing the soul of the black man's voice. Overall as a white lady living in the south and appalled by today's version of the same old ugliness, I would recommend this to all of my skin tone.

17 people found this helpful

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How did this narrator get chosen?

I am interested in this story.
What I have read is well written and important account of an incredible and resultant man.
I’ll be reading it because the narrator is totally annoying and off putting. In no imagination can that voice be attached in any believable way to this story. What a waste. Dude should narrate high school biology videos.

11 people found this helpful

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Narrator voice was disappointing

Fredrick Douglass’s story is told like you are sitting at a table with him as he describes his experiences. The narrator’s voice was disconnected from this setting and did not capture his struggle.

The book is a must read, the way it was presented in this format left much to be desired.

8 people found this helpful

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Incredibly powerful story and beautifully written

This autobiography of Frederick Douglas is beautifully written and gives such an insight as to what it must have been like to be a slave in the early 1800’s. Douglas’ vocabulary is astonishing for anyone, but especially for that of a man raised a slave in Maryland who had to sneak around trying to teach himself how to read and write. This illustrates the immense intellect he possessed. But this audiobook would have been even more powerful if it had been narrated by an African American intellectual.

8 people found this helpful

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Life of a slave but performed by a white man?

The book was a great insight into the life of a plantation slave. Douglass wrote such moving stories from his experiences but the narrator caused me to disengage while considering the reason for a white narrator. I can even hear the slightest chuckle on his voice or light hearted way he read a sentence that felt wrong for the tone in which Douglass was conveying.

5 people found this helpful

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Bad choice for narrator

The narrator was so difficult to listen to that I couldn’t make it beyond 1 hour,even after multiple attempts. Enjoyed the story though. Found another version that is easier to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible testimony, weak narrator

This short book recently showed up as a Free option with my Prime account.
A few years ago, I read "My Bondage and My Freedom," another autobiography of Frederick Douglass. Many of the anecdotes are the same, but that didn't bother me. His life story is important and needs to be heard again and again.

This book is short, and could be finished in a day. However, I could only handle so much description of slavery at a time. Not for the faint of heart.

The only problem with this edition is the narrator. He articulated words very well, the pacing was good overall. But his tone was odd, to my ears. I probably would have enjoyed a print version more.

2 people found this helpful

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What I found may shock you...

I was not sure what to expect when I set out to learn through Fredrick Douglas’ narrative. But what I found was incredible. The same lack of consistency in the American Church of the 1800’s can still be seen today! Like Douglas I am a passionate follower of Jesus and taken back by the seemingly intentional disregard for calling out the injustice of racism from those who claim to be Christian.

This revelation is only a snippet of the enlightenment available to those who embark to hear, learn, and be moved by this fantastic autobiography!

2 people found this helpful

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Evocation of the full range of emotions

Simply excellent. Love how he poked at white Christianity. Crueling whipping slaves Mon to Fri and praying to a merciful God on Sunday. Reading abruptly ended, strange.

1 person found this helpful

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devastating

it is difficult to understand the nightmare of slavery. Fredrick Douglas was an amazing person.

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  • A Teacher
  • 09-06-22

Comparable to a War Diary

Many people know the name, few have listened or read this.
Douglass explains how slavery broke goodness out of white people and spirit out of the enslaved.
Seldom do we hear the story of the white men and women who committed these atrocities and the impact on the enslaved.
It should be essential reading on the school curriculum.
If only it could have ended with reparation.

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  • Georgia Fancett
  • 08-23-22

An important listen.

Every person, everywhere should hear this story. At times almost too much to bear, and at times joyous and triumphant, but always a reminder the perils of unchecked power.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-22

Insightful history lesson

For authenticity purposes it wouldve been even more powerful if narrated by someone of the same origin as author.

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  • Meefam
  • 03-15-22

Thrillingly Emotional

What an eloquent and simultaneously entertaining narrative of the first hand experiences of an enslaved man.
The thrill of his escape and discovery of a new life made for a happy ending.

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  • tagster
  • 09-04-21

Great story and narration.

All good apart from the awful intro and end piece. It really spoils the mood of the work.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-08-21

Amazing a must read

Amazing! You need to listen to this. It’s opens your eyes to what needs to be known

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  • murray eskdale
  • 05-27-22

a point of view about slavery that we must hear.

This shocking account of the treatment of slaves should be heard by us all. unfortunately slavery is still a global problem and the more we're reminded of these horrors, the closer we are to change

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