When I was researching The First Assassin, I read a number of books on slavery and the Underground Railroad. One of them was Bound for Canaan by Fergus M. Bordewich, which I reviewed for the Wall Street Journal:
The network of abolitionists devoted to helping slaves find their freedom wasn’t described as “underground” for nothing. Records of its operations are scarce. Frederick Douglass urged his allies to keep mum. “Let us not hold the light by which [our enemies] can trace the footprints of our flying brother,” he said.
Yet in “Bound for Canaan,” Fergus M. Bordewich illuminates the lives and times of the Underground Railroad’s stationmasters, conductors and passengers. He has written an excellent book that is probably as close to a definitive history as we’re likely to see.
It includes a few pages on the real-life escape story that inspired an episode in my novel.