All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten

All God's DangersDespite the apparent title and author, this is the autobiography of Ned Cobb, an Alabama sharecropper born in 1885. This man (called “Nate Shaw” in the book) describes his long life in well-remembered incidents through the years. His tale was recorded by Rosengarten, who met Cobb a graduate student, in 1969.

This is a true American oral history, full of daily life and following the cadences of speech of their time and place. Cobb was illiterate all his life, but was a successful man, and active in trying to better the world for his own family and other blacks in the society where he found himself. He describes injustices small and mighty, and he joined the Alabama Sharecroppers Union in 1931. When sheriffs came to seize a friend’s land, he was attacked and arrested after having tried to stop them. He spent 13 years in prison.

Full of the details of work and family and mules and raising cotton in the South in Jim Crow times, this book is a long walk through an era with an uneducated but very intelligent and observant and morally upright man.

I think it is people like this who have kept the history of our culture, remembering well in their own stories of their own lives.

Reviewed by Sue D.


One Response to All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten

  1. Sarav says:

    Such an interesting review. Thank you.

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