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Short Synopsis
A book that opens the door on a completely hidden past, The Dawn of Detroit is a powerful and elegantly written history, one that completely changes our understanding of slavery's American legacy.

Full Synopsis
Most Americans believe that slavery was a creature of the South, and that Northern states and territories provided stops on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves on their way to Canada. In this paradigm-shifting book, celebrated historian Tiya Miles reveals that slavery was at the heart of the Midwest's iconic city: Detroit.

In this richly researched and eye-opening book, Miles has pieced together the experience of the unfree—both native and African American—in the frontier outpost of Detroit, a place wildly remote yet at the center of national and international conflict. Skillfully assembling fragments of a distant historical record, Miles introduces new historical figures and unearths struggles that remained hidden from view until now. The result is fascinating history, little explored and eloquently told, of the limits of freedom in early America, one that adds new layers of complexity to the story of a place that exerts a strong fascination in the media and among public intellectuals, artists, and activists.

A book that opens the door on a completely hidden past, The Dawn of Detroit is a powerful and elegantly written history, one that completely changes our understanding of slavery's American legacy.

"A necessary work of powerful, probing scholarship." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Miles places Detroit’s history in a more expansive frame than its 20th-century boom and decline, emphasizing racial inequalities far in advance of the Great Migration." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"A book likely to stand at the head of further research into the problem of Native and African-American slavery in the north country." ---Kirkus

The Dawn of Detroit once again demonstrates that Tiya Miles is the rarest sort of historian: a brilliant and humane observer who can build an account of the terrifying difference of the past out of a series of observations that have the plain familiarity of family history.” ---Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

"Narrator Allyson Johnson contributes greatly with her nuanced performance. . . . her performance is notable for its liveliness, and this audiobook is well worth a listen." ---AudioFile
Library Journal Review

Publishers Weekly Review

Dawn of Detroit

A Chronicle of Bondage and Freedom in the City of the Straits

Author Tiya Miles

Narrated by Allyson Johnson

Publication date Oct 3, 2017

Running time 10 hrs 14 min

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