Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 – Review

Frances Kimble - JournalJournal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, by Frances Anne Kemble, Edited with an introduction by, John A Scott

Brown Thrasher Books / University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia, 1984. (Originally published, 1863.)

Frances Kimble’s journal is surprisingly approachable, despite its vintage. She’s a skilled, sharp-eyed “journalist”, motivated to tell a story that few people in the 1830’s wanted to hear, fewer would have found sympathetic, and most would have derided as fiction.

This book is ‘Downton Abby’ with an underbelly so bleak, so grim it makes Dickens’ (writing in the same vein, on similar subjects occurring in England), seem like pretty cartoons. Kimble’s work is the very factual, well-documented, first-person account of what slavery was in the American South. Hard to face, but impossible to look away.

If you only read one book on the subject of antebellum slavery, this is the one.

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