THE NEW BOOKS BY MR. CHESNUTT
The vivacity apparently inherent in the Beacon Biography series, as if a living force had yielded to a necessity for compression, but insisted on retaining its full measure of energy, is notable in Mr. Chesnutt's life of Frederick Douglass. It was a happy choice on the part of editor and publisher by which the writing of this particular volume was given to one so well qualified by sympathy, knowledge and training. It is a desirable thing for the American people that access be made easy to the straight-forward, true story of a life the mere chronology of which thrills the spirit more than the dazzling deeds of the most accomplished and all-conquering knight of modern romantic fiction.
The life of Frederick Douglass lay between the years 1817 and 1895. He escaped from slavery and rose to take his place in history as one of the great men of his time and a most illustrious example of the mind's supreme triumph over limitations of hindering circum-stances. As Mr. Chesnutt says in a preface marked by feeling, taste and excellence of style, "His position as the champion of an oppressed race, and at the same time an example of its possibilities, was, in his own generation as picturesque as it was unique; and his life may serve for all time as an incentive to aspiring souls who would fight the battles and win the love of mankind." The reading of the little book is commended for the value of its history and the potentiality of prophecy latent in its pages.
"The New Books by Mr. Chesnutt," rev. of Frederick Douglass in "Book Reviews," The Index, [Cleveland] 2.8, 15 Dec 1899: 4.