> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 28 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143106425
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $23.99

The Life of John Thompson, a Fugitive Slave

Containing His History of 25 Years in Bondage, and His Providential Escape


Formats & editions


The unique narrative of a slave who fled to freedom and sailed aboard a whaling vessel

John Thompson was born into slavery on a Maryland plantation in 1812. Originally published in 1856, The Life of John Thompson, a Fugitive Slave chronicles his enslavement, his escape, and his life in the North, where he lived as a free man until fear of recapture drove him to flee once again-this time to sea aboard the Milwood, a whaling vessel. The only fugitive slave narrator to report a whaling voyage, Thompson crafted from his seafaring experience an allegorical sermon that caps his Life and renders it a kind of African American Pilgrim's Progress, as well as a narrative of struggle with, escape from, and triumph over American slavery.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

  • Pub date: 28 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143106425
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $23.99

Also by John Thompson

See all

Related titles