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Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for History This searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian reveals the pivot in the nation’s path between the founding and civil war. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom’s swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war.

About the Author

Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor's latest book is American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, just out from W.W. Norton. He is also the author of William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for American History and The Internal Enemy, which won the 2014 Pulitizer Prize for American History. Taylor hold the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair in the history department at the University of Virginia. He can be reached at ast8f@virginia.edu

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