cover image The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, read by Richard Allen. Dreamscape Media, unabridged, 17 CDs, 21.5 hrs., $44.99 ISBN 978-1-61120-509-1

Richard Allen pulls out all the stops in his narration of Douglass’s third autobiography, even singing—in a surprisingly rich and mellifluous voice—the spirituals transcribed by the author. This classic of 19th-century American literature chronicles a spirit awakened from the horrors of slavery and inspired to resist. Allen’s voice is a deep baritone, lending a natural dignity to the text he reads. He narrates in a singsong manner, the rhythm waxing and waning. And while this style is unexpected, it is successful. Douglass describes the abuses and degradations of slavery, and Allen does justice to the author’s words, often sounding like a preacher delivering a homily from the bible of the antislavery movement. (Feb.)