Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Written by:
Eric Foner
Narrated by:
Jd Jackson

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2015
9 hours 5 minutes
They are little known to history: Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist newspaper editor; Louis Napoleon, a furniture polisher; Charles B. Ray, a black minister. At great risk they operated the underground railroad in New York, a city whose businesses, banks, and politics were deeply enmeshed in the slave economy. In secret coordination with black dockworkers who alerted them to the arrival of fugitives and with counterparts in Norfolk, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Albany, and Syracuse, underground-railroad operatives in New York helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Their defiance of the notorious Fugitive Slave Law inflamed the South. White and black, educated and illiterate, they were heroic figures in the ongoing struggle between slavery and freedom.

Making brilliant use of fresh evidence-including the meticulous record of slave rescues secretly kept by Gay-Eric Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. 
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Really enjoyed listening to this work. I was expecting to learn more about the Underground Railroad but the author really gives you a much more rounded history of slavery in both the pre-revolutionary colonies as well as the Union leading up to the Civil War.

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Constance P.

Much too slow, hard to follow.

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Alex M.

This book is about an essential piece of history, and the author clearly did a huge amount of research. Unfortunately it's simply not structured in a way that compels. In spite of the subject matter often being either devastating or exhilarating, Mr. Foner presents much of it without a larger context and without making the story really evolve. Ultimately, it's a well documented chronology of events in New York City, with a few genuinely intriguing insights. Worth the read, but could have been better.

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Will Taylor

This is a great history book. This is one of the best I've ever read.

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