PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksThroughout, Bell stokes the suspense as we wonder how they will escape, especially once they trek farther south ... Bell acknowledges how attached he became to the boys during his research, a connection that shines through on the page. Still, he stresses the need to go beyond the human-interest angle to place their experience in the larger context of the slave trade — both illegal kidnapping and the perfectly legal, highly profitable enterprise that flourished throughout the South ... No images exist of the kidnappers or the kidnapped, but Bell makes effective use of period graphics and maps to depict their route. The book is an important addition to a lesser-known aspect of what slavery wrought in America. It is a compelling story, and you will root for these five boys.
Amy S Greenberg
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"Greenberg’s use of an array of primary sources, built on her understanding of mid-19th-century America, provides a strong accounting of a complex woman. I didn’t know anything about Sarah Polk before I read this biography and, to be honest, didn’t particularly like her afterward.\
John F Ross
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksBiography helps pull together disparate elements of the past that created a whole person and her or his accomplishments. John F. Ross’ biography of Powell does this well ... The author’s own outdoor experience serves him well in describing Powell’s expeditions ... The advance copy I read was slim on references and bibliography; not that I question Ross’ knowledge, but I would have appreciated more information for my own future delving. I also missed hearing about wife ... In his biography of Powell, Ross reminds us of the potential nobility of public service and how government officials who stay true to science are, indeed, heroic.