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Trouble the Water

About the Book

Trouble the Water

Inspired by the true story of Robert Smalls' daring escape from slavery on a cotton planter-turned gunboat, his heroism during the Civil War, and his extraordinary service as one of the country's first African-American legislators, TROUBLE THE WATER navigates the rich tributaries of courage, family, betrayal, faith, forgiveness and redemption. 

Smalls --- born enslaved and witness to both great privilege and great suffering --- grows up alongside his owner's daughter and the dangerous son of a firebrand secessionist. At the age of 12, he's sent to work in Charleston, where he loads ships and learns to pilot a cotton steamer. When the Civil War erupts and the cotton steamer becomes a Confederate warship, he seizes a high-risk opportunity to pursue freedom for himself and the woman and children he loves. After the war ended, Smalls was able to purchase the house in which he and his mother had been enslaved, and he became one of America's first black legislators. 

His courage, thirst for knowledge, and compassion ultimately changed the lives of untold others, including making SC the first state to legislate public education for all. 

From his illiterate childhood to his thrilling escape to freedom, from his work to make South Carolina the first state to guarantee public education to his final days on the porch of his family home, TROUBLE THE WATER will thrill history lovers, biographical fiction fans and book group members who appreciate exciting fiction based on the lives of real people. If you liked INVENTION OF WINGS, MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER and THE KITCHEN HOUSE, you'll want to read this.

Trouble the Water
by Rebecca Dwight Bruff

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Koehler Books
  • ISBN-10: 1633938077
  • ISBN-13: 9781633938076