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The Good Lord Bird: Book summary and reviews of The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

The Good Lord Bird

by James McBride

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride X
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
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  • Published Aug 2013
    432 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town - with Brown, who believes he's a girl.

Over the ensuing months, Henry - whom Brown nicknames Little Onion - conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 - one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Awards, 2013

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Outrageously funny, sad…McBride puts a human face on a nation at its most divided." - Publishers Weekly

"McBride presents an interesting experiment in point of view here, as all of Brown's activities are filtered through the eyes of a young adolescent who wavers between innocence and cynicism." - Kirkus

This information about The Good Lord Bird was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Carol

Step into History
Having just finished reading THE GOOD LORD BIRD, I am impressed with the voice James McBride uses to describe the times. It is a part of history, that I would not want to dwell on and yet I felt drawn into the story and the connection with "the good lord bird that don't run in a flock. He flies alone."
From the checking I did it seems to be historically accurate. Thank you Mr. McBride for presenting a different perspective.

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Author Information

James McBride Author Biography

James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, the #1 bestselling American classic The Color of Water, and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna. He is also the author of Kill 'Em and Leave, a James Brown biography. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2016, McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

Author Interview
Link to James McBride's Website

Other books by James McBride at BookBrowse
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