Never Caught

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Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful story about a daring woman of “extraordinary grit” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the President grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.

“A crisp and compulsively readable feat of research and storytelling” (USA TODAY), historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked everything to gain freedom from the famous founding father.


  • NeverCaught 01 Open

    Duration: 25s
  • NeverCaught 02 AuthorsNote

    Duration: 01min
  • NeverCaught 03 Foreword

    Duration: 06min
  • NeverCaught 04 Ch1

    Duration: 24min
  • NeverCaught 05 Ch2

    Duration: 38min
  • NeverCaught 06 Ch3

    Duration: 34min
  • NeverCaught 07 Ch4

    Duration: 21min
  • NeverCaught 08 Ch5

    Duration: 29min
  • NeverCaught 09 Ch6

    Duration: 25min
  • NeverCaught 10 Ch7

    Duration: 23min
  • NeverCaught 11 Ch8

    Duration: 36min
  • NeverCaught 12 Ch9

    Duration: 19min
  • NeverCaught 13 Ch10

    Duration: 16min
  • NeverCaught 14 Ch11

    Duration: 38min
  • NeverCaught 15 Ch12

    Duration: 32min
  • NeverCaught 16 Ch13

    Duration: 32min
  • NeverCaught 17 Epilogue

    Duration: 23min
  • NeverCaught 18 Credits

    Duration: 45s