Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction
A Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Oprah Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year
A magnificent new novel by the best-selling author James McBride.” cover review of The New York Times Book Review
Outrageously entertaining.” USA Today
James McBride delivers another tour de force” Essence
So imaginative, you’ll race to the finish.” NPR.org
Wildly entertaining.”4-star People lead review
"A boisterous, highly entertaining, altogether original novel.” Washington Post
From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusadeand who must pass as a girl to survive.
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave townwith Brown, who believes he’s a girl.
Over the ensuing months, Henrywhom Brown nicknames Little Onionconceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.
An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.