The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War
Paperback – November 5, 2019
Winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
Winner of the Lionel Trilling Book Award
A New York Times Critics' Best Book
"Excellent... stunning."—Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book tells the story of America’s original sin—slavery—through politics, law, literature, and above all, through the eyes of enslavedblack people who risked their lives to flee from bondage, thereby forcing the nation to confront the truth about itself. The struggle over slavery divided not only the American nation but also the hearts and minds of individual citizens faced with the timeless problem of when to submit to unjust laws and when to resist. The War Before the War illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.
About the Author
Andrew Delbanco is the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University. Author of many notable books, including College, Melville, The Death of Satan, Required Reading, The Real American Dream, and The Puritan Ordeal, he was recently appointed president of the Teagle Foundation, which supports liberal education for college students of all backgrounds. Winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, he is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2001, Andrew Delbanco was named by Time as "America's Best Social Critic." In 2012, President Barack Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal.