Critical Insights: Frederick Douglass Reviews

"In the past several years, Yale University Press has published critical editions of Frederick Douglass’s major written works and speeches replete with scholarly essays providing context and analysis for each work. These include Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself: Critical Edition (2016) and The Speeches of Frederick Douglass: A Critical Edition (2018). W. W. Norton also published a critical edition of Narrative in 2016. Compiled by Williams (Spartanburg Methodist College), the work under review strives to go beyond that seminal text, which has become the standard for critical analysis of Douglass, and cover his other important writings. Still, a fair number of this volume's essays contain the inescapable Narrative, though many delve into other writings as well. The value of this reference work, beyond the unique scholarly perspectives within, is in the collocation of 15 recent, well-researched and well-written critical essays in one book, analyzing much of Douglass’s output. Every academic library should already have copies of Douglass’s texts; this edition allows the addition of critical analyses of those writings without having to purchase the critical editions mentioned above. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."