Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero


This is the definitive biography of American folk hero Harriet Tubman, the “Moses of her people” who rescued at least fifty souls from slavery. Author Larson has sifted through heaps of original documents to glean the facts of a complicated life. She refrains from speculation: when a connection might be drawn, she makes it clear that the facts tend to this only as a possibility.

She includes source material, such as the lyrics of hymns Harriet would sing in her clear, carrying voice to warn fugitives of danger or to let them know it was safe to come out. Tubman’s fractious personality expresses itself. She carried a pistol to threaten those who would turn back.

The Underground Railroad began for her when she escaped from Maryland to Philadelphia in 1849. She returned several times to rescue members of her family and others, and extended guidance to yet others. Her motivation was to rescue her family from being sold south when their owner needed cash, and to reunite her loved ones. Vignettes stand out from the chronicle of fact: Tubman and her party wading through water on sharp sweetgum burrs, freezing and starving in their determination to be free.

This book will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the facts behind the Tubman legend.



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