Oates, Stephen B.The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. 187 pages. Maps, notes, index.
The Fires of Jubilee is the story of Nat Turner - a slave who fought for freedom in the Old South. Stephen B. Oates makes his objective for writing The Fires of Jubilee clear in the foreword where he states, "I wanted to transport readers back to Nat's time so that they might suffer with him, and see the world of slavery and the Old South through his eyes."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Oates also suggest in the foreword that the insurrection shocked the slave South to its foundations and pointed the way to the Civil War.
At the beginning of the book Nat is introduced to the reader during his carefree years as a slave boy able to run about the plantation without a care in the world. Black and white children played and explored together unaware that in time they would become permanently separated.
Nat stood out among the other children. He taught himself to read and write with remarkable ease. Nat also had congenital bumps and scars on his head and chest which, according to African tradition, meant that he was destined to become a leader. Everyone on the farm held Nat in awe. His friends and family said that he was "intended for some great purpose,"Ã¯Â¿Â½ that Nat would surely become a prophet. They led him to believe that he would be liberated because he was so smart.
Despite his brightness, when Nat reached the age of twelve he was sent into the fields to pick cotton while his white playmates were sent off to school to learn their proper roles as God's master class. When Nat came to the realization that he was to be...