Fierce Rebellion by Stephen B. Oates
The book Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion (New York, Ny: Harper Perennial, 1990) by Stephen B. Oates portrays a slave rebellion and uprising in the 1830’s. Oates has written many books on American history and his style of writing makes his books readable and popular. He has become a unique storyteller of his time, in his book he tells of a transformation that changed the city of South Hampton, Virginia forever, an unspeakable action heard throughout the whole nation and insurrection. What is an insurrection? It is a rebellion, revolution, mutiny and uprising, a concept that has never lost hope in African-American slaves.
Born in Pampa, Texas, Stephen B. Oates has been known for his distinguished books of American history and has received many honorable awards. Despite his early years in pursuing a business career, he ended up specializing in American history. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in 1958. Having received his Masters in 1960 and nine years later, his PhD in education, Oates has been a lecturer and guest speaker at many colleges and has appeared on television and radio. One of his notable awards includes the Master Teacher Award from the University of Hartford in 1985. He was a semi finalist in the National Professor of the Year competition winning the silver medal that same year. He has nearly 35 years of teaching experience and is currently a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He also holds membership in the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Texas Institute of Letters. In his books, Oates has been recognized for writing controversial material, as well for choosing subjects in American History that had not been previously researched or published. His extensive educational career has made him a well-rounded writer.
In his book on Nat’s insurrection, Oates gives the impression of history being told by a storyteller. His style of writing seems appropriate for students who are at the college level. He occasionally uses the word “n-gg-r” to emphasize the contempt under which Nat Tuner labored, or the word “darkie” to indicate how even the best of whites spoke patronizingly of blacks slaves. These usages place the reader in the era of the 1830’s. In the beginning of the book, Oates puts the reader at ease with the community and the state of Virginia. Oates conveys an informed picture of the point of views and political opinions of the day. The reader can understand Governor Floyd’s attitude and that of the idealist’s upstate. Oates vocabulary level is somewhat advanced, but not so much that the reader could not...