Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery And Their Astonishing Odyssey Home

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This “superbly researched and engaging” (The Wall Street Journal) true story about five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South—and their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice belongs “alongside the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edward P. Jones, and Toni Morrison” (Jane Kamensky, Professor of American History at Harvard University).

Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home.

Their ordeal—an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.

“Rigorously researched, heartfelt, and dramatically concise, Bell’s investigation illuminates the role slavery played in the systemic inequalities that still confront Black Americans” (Booklist).


  • 001 Stolen Open

    Duration: 50s
  • 002 Stolen Introduction TheReverseUndergroundRailroad

    Duration: 18min
  • 003 Stolen Chapter1 SanctuaryCity

    Duration: 40min
  • 004 Stolen Chapter2 BlackHearts

    Duration: 28min
  • 005 Stolen Chapter3 MidnightLand

    Duration: 31min
  • 006 Stolen Chapter4 InLawsAndOutlaws

    Duration: 35min
  • 007 Stolen Chapter5 TheBeatenWay

    Duration: 38min
  • 008 Stolen Chapter6 TheBodyInTheWagon

    Duration: 36min
  • 009 Stolen Chapter7 TheHalfwayHouse

    Duration: 38min
  • 010 Stolen Chapter8 TheLifeboat

    Duration: 38min
  • 011 Stolen Chapter9 ALivingWitness

    Duration: 38min
  • 012 Stolen Chapter10 HuntingWolves

    Duration: 39min
  • 013 Stolen Chapter11 KidnappersAll

    Duration: 38min
  • 014 Stolen Conclusion TheFirstLawOfNature

    Duration: 15min
  • 015 Stolen Credits

    Duration: 01min