The Fires of Jubilee by Stephen B. Oates Essay

The Fires of Jubilee by Stephen B. Oates Essay

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The Fires of Jubilee by Stephen B. Oates


The Fires of Jubilee by Stephen B. Oates describes a sad and tragic story about a man named Nat Turner who was born into slavery and his fight to be free. Ironically, his willingness to do anything, even kill, to gain his freedom leads to his own demise. From the title of this book, 'The Fires of Jubilee,'; a reader can truly grasp the concept that there is trouble, chaos, and mayhem brewing in the month of August.

This story was not only riveting, but also one that kept me on my heels for almost the entire time that I was reading it. Stephen B. Oates, a prize-winning author of thirteen books and more then seventy articles, is currently a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Some of his best novels have been 'With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln,'; 'Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King. Jr.,'; and 'Rip Ford's Texas.'; His writing is riveting as well as courageous. His willingness to get to such length to capture the mind of the reader and hold them in suspense has earned him several awards throughout his lustrous career. Some of the awards that Oates has received are the Christopher Award and the Barondess/Lincoln Award of the New York Civil War Round Table. His work has gained worldwide notoriety and is currently translated in four different languages: French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

     'The Fires of Jubilee'; took place in Southampton, Virginia and County Seat, Jerusalem during the 1800's. The story takes shape during a time in which slavery was the norm, especially in the South. It describes the struggles and turmoil of one such slave named Nat Turner in his quest to gain his freedom. It tells the tale of a man who's destiny was forever to be a slave and his quest to alter his destiny, which in the end leads to his tragic death.

Born into slavery, Nat Turner was perhaps one exception to the rule; he was a master's worst nightmare come true. Nat Turner was not only an intelligent man, he knew how to read and write; but he was also determined, willing to go to tremendous measures to gain his freedom, even if it meant killing. He was liked by both the whites and fellow slaves, some of whom came to think of him as a prophet, a savior of slaves.

Nat use to go to church every Sunday and the more he learned about the Christian bel...


... middle of paper ...


...ust admit that I wanted to jump right to the last page just to get a peek of the ending, but I resisted my temptation to do so. As I read the story, I began to feel for Nat. Though I really can't agree with how he went about trying to gain his freedom, the author's way of writing left me little choice but to urge Nat on.
In all, I was captivated and moved by the story. Though this really did not change my interest in history, I really did enjoy reading it and would really recommend it to anyone who wants to get a total grasp of how horrible slavery was. Stephen Oates has a way of writing that transforms the reader into the actual rebellion and allows one to see and feel the circumstances of Nat Turner's insurrection and the consequences of it to the South. I can tell that Oates performed rigorous study to present an accurate portrayal of Nat Turners' story. His many insights and uses of secondary sources were quite evident and his use of examples and storytelling is quite impressive. Though it seems as if he leaves little to the imagination, I couldn't help but think of what and could have happened if some of the events leading up to the capture of Nat Turner had been changed.

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