Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War

Oxford Univ. Feb. 2024. 784p. ISBN 9780197552797. $39.95. HIST
Fields-Black’s (history, Carnegie Mellon Univ.; Deep Roots) work is an incredible and distinctive book about the Civil War and the role of a Black woman, long known for her work on the Underground Railroad. She uses a multiplicity of new sources to uncover and deftly relate the story of Harriet Tubman’s role as a Union Army hire. She led a group of men deep into the rivers of South Carolina and helped nearly 800 enslaved people of all ages escape enslavement from local rice plantations. No lives were lost in the process. Utilizing original documents and meticulous research, the book describes all that Tubman did in the large military Combahee Ferry Raid of 1863, which took place deep in the heart of the Confederacy. One of the participants of that raid is the author’s ancestors.
VERDICT A scholarly and remarkable work about enslavement and Civil War history that makes an excellent choice for reading groups and libraries. Readers will gain a deeper understanding of that era’s times and experiences, and Fields-Black’s connection to one of the participants makes it a personal work as well.
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