Review: The Good Lord Bird | Adventures of the Abolitionist and the Little Onion

The Good Lord Bird
James McBride (2013)

A slave boy named Henry is unwittingly swept up in John Brown’s crusade when he crosses paths with the Glory-driven abolitionist in Bloody Kansas (1857). Young Henry—mistaken for a girl and dubbed a good luck charm by Brown (who nicknames her “Little Onion”)—is forced to come along with Brown’s anti-slavery army as they travel to New York state, Canada, and ultimately their date with destiny in Harpers Ferry. John Brown is a fascinating, complicated, and sadly under-represented figure in U.S. history, and here McBride gives him life, spinning an engaging and often hilarious tale as told from Henry’s front-row point of view.


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