Harriet Tubman by Sarah Hopkins Bradford (3 stars)
Were I to sum up the totality of my knowledge, I would say, “she freed a bunch of slaves using the Underground Railroad.” That’s it. I literally don’t know anything else.
This book…was ok. It’s not thorough, at all. It’s really short, and would probably be best for a young audience. I downloaded it as a free book on Audible, and I was hoping it was going to be a reasonably detailed biography.
The author, Sarah Hopkins Bradford, was one of the first female American writers of juvenile fiction – so it makes sense that this book probably works best for younger readers. She actually wrote two biographies of Tubman, and they were contemporaries (Bradford, who was older, died the year before Tubman). This book is historically relevant in that Bardford was one of the first writers to write a biography of her, and they were based on interviews conducted after the Civil War.
So that’s pretty cool.
Also, it’s worth adding, the narration does not at all work. It’s a public domain audiobook, and the writer is a white guy. His reading of slave dialects is….well. It didn’t feel appropriate.
Overall, this was fairly disappointing, and I didn’t finish it.
Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado (4 stars)
After reading about the ATF gunwalking scandal, I was looking for a deeper dive into the Mexican Drug War and modern Mexican political climate. This is more of a memoir of a Mexican-American journalist covering the cartels in northern Mexico, and the dangers he’s faced. Dealing with numerous threats on his life, rumors of a planned execution of an American journalist “within the next 24 hours” led to his leaving the country. For a year he taught at Harvard, before being drawn back to Mexico following the massacre of 16 teenagers in Juarez.
This is a pretty solid memoir. I have no complaints about it, and for someone looking for a memoir of a journalist torn between two countries, one of which is being torn apart by violence and corruption – this is probably an excellent read. While I can recognize that – this isn’t what I was looking for. I listened to the majority of the audiobook – and then just never finished it with an hour remaining.
I recommend it to anyone who likes memoirs. Just don’t go into expecting a thorough breakdown of the drug war or Mexican politics.