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First published in 1845, the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass became Frederick Douglass's most well known work. It is as the name implies his autobiography.
Frederick Douglass was born a slave and underwent horrendous treatment at the hands of his owners. He later escaped to the north and became an outspoken abolitionist. Not only did he have a great life story to tell, his skill in telling it has long been admired. Douglass traveled throughout Europe lecturing about slavery.
After publication, the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass quickly became a best seller and within three years there were over 11,000 copies published in the United States, had been reprinted nine times and had been translated into two languages (Dutch and French). The book was so well written that some argued that an ex-slave could not be as articulate as Frederick Douglass demonstrated himself to be. Of course, Douglass did write the book and it stands today as a monument to the human spirit and what may be achieved with hard work no matter where in society somebody may begin.
Frederick Douglass had to leave the United States and flee to Ireland for a period after the books publication and its immediate success for some believed that Douglas' ex-owner Hugh Auld might try to get his "property" returned. After two years he was able to return to the United States after his freedom was purchased for $710 from Auld.
If you are interested in learning about the life of a great man who rose above his birth as a slave and became one of the greatest literary figures in American history, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is the book to read.