The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans

The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans

by John Bailey

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A fascinating exploration of slavery and its laws and an unforgettable portrait of a young woman in pursuit of freedom. “Reads like a legal thriller” (The Washington Post).
It is a spring morning in New Orleans, 1843. In the Spanish Quarter, on a street lined with flophouses and gambling dens, Madame Carl recognizes a face from her past. It is the face of a German girl, Sally Miller, who disappeared twenty-five years earlier. But the young woman is property, the slave of a nearby cabaret owner. She has no memory of a “white” past. Yet her resemblance to her mother is striking, and she bears two telltale birthmarks.
In brilliant novelistic detail, award-winning historian John Bailey reconstructs the exotic sights, sounds, and smells of mid-nineteenth-century New Orleans, as well as the incredible twists and turns of Sally Miller’s celebrated and sensational case. Did Miller, as her relatives sought to prove, arrive from Germany under perilous circumstances as an indentured servant or was she, as her master claimed, part African, and a slave for life? The Lost German Slave Girl is a tour de force of investigative history that reads like a suspense novel.
“Bailey keeps us guessing until the end in this page-turning true courtroom drama of 19th-century New Orleans . . . [He] brings to life the fierce legal proceedings with vivid strokes.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802199782
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 12/01/2007
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 89,140
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

John Bailey’s previous book The White Divers of Broome won the NSW Premier’s Award for History and the WA Premier’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. It was also shortlisted for The Age Nonfiction Book of the Year, The Courier Mail Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. John Bailey lives in Australia.

Read an Excerpt



The elevation of the white race, and the happiness of the slave, vitally depend upon maintaining the ascendancy of one and the submission of the other.

Chief Justice Watkins of the Arkansas Supreme Court, 1854

This much we know: that on a bright, spring morning in 1843, Madame Carl Rouff left her timber-framed house in Lafayette to travel across New Orleans to visit a friend who lived in the Faubourg Marigny. It was a distance of four miles, following the bend of the Mississippi as it turned abruptly on itself in its winding course to the Gulf. She caught the mule- driven omnibus along Tchoupitoulas Street to the city, a journey of an hour and a quarter, swaying gently as she watched the unloading of the keelboats, skiffs, and packets anchored alongside the levee. She had allowed herself plenty of time, so it was without urgency that she alighted and crossed the expanse of Canal Street to enter the Vieux Carré. She had only a vague idea of how the streets fit together in the narrow grid at the back of the Place d'Armes, so doggedly she followed Bourbon Street, hoping eventually to run into Esplanade Avenue, which would guide her to her destination.

She entered an area of narrow streets and alleys where a jumbled variety of wooden tenements leaned against one another for support. For decades, poor Spanish-speaking families had lived there, but increasingly their homes were being bought up by Américain speculators who had converted them into flophouses, gambling dens, and bawdy houses for the boatmen who poured in from the riverfront each evening. It was an area of New Orleans where no respectable woman should venture, even in daylight. Set incongruously in its midst, enclosed by a high wall on three sides, was the Ursuline Convent.

As Madame Carl crossed the street, she felt the heat of the sun reflecting off the surface of the road. She hadn't been feeling well for some months, so it was no surprise to her when she suddenly felt light-headed. She placed a hand on the front rail of one of the houses and took a moment to recover her breath. In front of the nunnery was a small marble statue of a tormented Jesus, a showy display of Catholic idolatry of which she disapproved. Running down to the levee was a terrace of narrow buildings of weather-bleached clapboards. On the front doorstep of one, sat a woman bathed in sunlight, her legs drawn to her chest, her head resting on her knees.

Madame Carl waited, hoping she would soon feel better. She watched a black man push a barrow of watermelon from the water-front; some urchins, naked to the waist, scrambled to kick a rag ball along the gutter. After a minute or two, she felt strong enough to continue. She pushed herself off the rail. She was no more than three paces from the sidewalk on the other side of the street when the woman sitting on the step sighed deeply and, with her eyes closed, faced into the sun. Madame Carl stopped and took a sharp intake of air. She knew her. It was Dorothea Müller.

Madame Carl held still, fearful that if she moved, the marvel would end. The same high cheekbones, the same smooth, olive skin, the same full mouth. Dorothea Müller. On that stinking, foul ship, tossing endlessly on the Atlantic, she had watched Dorothea's husband carry her body onto the deck, wrap it in a canvas sheet, and slide the bundle into the sea.

Dorothea, whispered Madame Carl to herself. She was looking at the death mask of someone who had died over a quarter of a century ago. Dorothea! Her dearest friend, her school companion in a village half a world away.

The woman opened her eyes and Madame Carl stared intently into her face. She was as Madame Carl remembered her, seated just like that, on the front step of Frau Hillsler's house.

How are you, Dorothea? asked Madame Carl, her voice quavering with emotion. The woman didn't answer. Gently Madame Carl repeated the question. She took a few steps closer and bent over her. Where have you been, Dorothea? It's been so long. The woman, discomfited by Madame Carl'ss gaze, shook her head.

But, of course, this couldn't be Dorothea. Madame Carl recoiled at her own stupidity. Then it struck her with a clear and abiding certainty. It was Dorothea's lost daughter, Salomé. Madame Carl stood spellbound. Salomé, she whispered. Is that you, Salomé?

My name is Mary Miller, missus.

Madame Carl looked at the woman in bewilderment. You are Salomé, the child who was lost.

The woman shook her head once more. Madame Carl flinched in disappointment. She didn't know what to say. She began to feel ill again and leaned against the wall of the building for support. She studied the figure beneath her. The woman wore a tignon of brightly colored madras cotton and a dark kersey shawl over a long dress of coarse linen. They were slave's clothes. Her face was tanned and her hands were engrained with dirt. Unsettled by the attention of Madame Carl, the woman stooped her shoulders in submission. At that gesture of huddled servility, it occurred to Madame Carl that the woman might be a slave. It was an appalling thought that hit her in the pit of her stomach. How could this be? Madame Carl's thoughts tangled in confusion. Was her mind unraveling in the heat?

Please, whispered Madame Carl.

The woman looked up. I am a yellow girl. I belong to Mr. Belmonti, she said, inclining her head toward the interior of a shop behind her.

Madame Carl straightened and took a deep breath. Could she be mistaken? The two women glanced fleetingly into each other's eyes, hoping to understand the other's thoughts. Madame Carl asked her to remove her tignon. The woman on the doorstep paused, then reached behind her head, unwrapped the cloth, and shook her head, unfurling long, dark auburn locks. The hair was Dorothea's, but it was the woman's action — the toss of her head, the sensual delight in the display that took Madame Carl's breath away. Again Madame Carl was shaken, but she pressed on. You are not rightly a slave, she said. You are Salomé Müller.

There was a blank expression on the woman's face, then a look of puzzlement, followed by a slow grin as she pondered a joke she didn't get. Then, finding no answer, she bowed her head in deference.

You are of pure German blood, urged Madame Carl, her voice rising. I knew your mother. I know you. We came together to this country — on the same ship — twenty-five years ago. You are German.

As she waited for a response, Madame Carl's attention was snagged by a shadow moving in a room of the house behind the woman. Madame Carl turned and caught a glimpse of a moon-faced man with a bushy mustache who was leaning forward to listen to their conversation. He stepped back out of view. Salomé's owner, she supposed. A Frenchman. She looked around, noticing for the first time that she was standing outside a barroom of some sort — inside the front parlor were tables and chairs, and a bench containing bottles of colored liqueurs and a cabinet of cigars. She turned back to the woman on the doorstep. Please don't be afraid. I can help you. You are German.

No, I am Mary Miller and I belong to Mr. Belmonti. You ask him. Her eyes begged to be left alone.

Please listen to me. You are not a slave. You are from the Müller family.

There was no response. It was hopeless. Madame Carl wondered if she should speak to the woman's owner, but that would take more strength than she felt she could muster. She could take no more. Abruptly she turned and walked away. At the corner she stopped and looked back. The doorway was empty. It was as if the woman had never existed. In her place stood her master, a tall, plump man smoking a cigar.

* * *

Over a century ago, two Louisiana writers, J. Hanno Deiler (a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans) and George W. Cable, working independently of each other, told the story of the Lost German Slave Girl. Deiler's article appeared as a pamphlet in a German-language newspaper in New Orleans in 1888. Cable's version appeared in The Century Magazine of 1889 and was later included as a chapter in his Strange True Tales of Louisiana. Since neither spoke to either Madame Carl or Mary Miller, their reports of the conversation between the two women were clearly imaginative creations, derived from hand-me- down renditions supplied by relatives. The version presented here is adapted from both these sources and from the notes of evidence of the trial when Salomé Müller sought her freedom in the First District Court of Louisiana in 1844.

In Cable's version, on the very day Madame Carl discovered Mary Miller, she enticed her away for a few hours so that she could show her to members of the German community in New Orleans. However, according to the lawyer who represented Salomé Müller in her quest for freedom, this didn't happen until "the following day, or shortly after". Whenever it was, soon after the initial meeting Madame Carl managed to convince Mary Miller to accompany her across New Orleans to the house of Francis and Eva Schuber in Lafayette. Eva Schuber was Salomé Müller's cousin and godmother, and had accompanied the Müller family on the voyage to America. If anyone could confirm to Madame Carl that she had found the lost girl, it would be Eva.

* * *

The journey to Eva Schuber's house took Madame Carl and Mary Miller through the market of the Vieux Carré. Madame Carl was surprised, then disconcerted, to see that her companion was known to many of the black labourers in the market. Madame Carl had to wait as Mary stopped to talk to a half-naked man carrying chickens tied by the legs to a pole balanced across his shoulders, then to some slaves loading boxes of vegetables on to a dray. A Negro butcher wearing an apron spotted with blood called out to her. Madame Carl waited patiently while Mary chattered for a few moments, and then together they walked to Canal Street. From there they caught the omnibus to Lafayette.

Nowadays, Lafayette is part of the urban sprawl of New Orleans, but in the 1840s the area near the river was given over to market gardens, slaughterhouses, bone grinders, and tanners. Eva Schuber and her husband lived in a narrow timber house of two stories on the corner of Jersey and Jackson streets.

Eva Schuber later gave evidence to the First District Court about what occurred on the day her goddaughter was returned to her. She said she was standing on the front steps of her house when she saw Madame Carl opening the front gate. She hadn't seen Madame Carl for some time and it wasn't her friend's habit to make an unannounced visit.

What happened then? her lawyer had asked.

Eva paused, her eyes half-shut, as if visualizing the scene.

I noticed a woman standing behind her, and I said, Is that a German woman?

What did she say?

She said yes, and I said, I know her.

And then?

Madame Carl said to me, Well, if you know her, who is she?

And what did you say?

I then replied, My God, the long-lost Salomé Müller!

* * *

Eva took her visitors inside — into a house so small that one of her sons slept in the parlor directly off the street. He sat on his bed as the three women entered. Then, recognizing Madame Carl, he stood and bowed to her. He looked at the other woman, but his mother made no introduction and instead, in an excited voice, told him to run down the street and get Mistress Schultzeheimer and Mrs. Fleikener. He was to tell them that one of the lost daughters of Shoemaker Müller had returned. They must come immediately and see for themselves. He must tell them to hurry. The boy put on his boots and scrambled down the steps.

Eva pushed her son's bed against the wall and placed three chairs in the centre of the room. She indicated to Mary Miller that she should take a seat, and she and Madame Carl took chairs facing her. For a full minute, Eva sat opposite Mary Miller and examined every feature of her face. It was amazing. She was the image of her mother. The same full, rounded face with small dimples in each cheek, the deep, dark eyes, the olive complexion, and long auburn hair. Eva took it all in, and the more she looked, the more certain she became that her goddaughter had returned. Not a day had passed in the last twenty-five years when she hadn't thought of her. There wasn't a day when she hadn't prayed for her return. At last, at last, she was lost no more.

She is a slave, whispered Madame Carl.

Eva stared at her friend in disbelief. How could she be a slave? she asked. Madame Carl didn't know. She explained how she had found her outside a low-class barroom in the Spanish part of the city. The two women exchanged glances.

Does she remember her mother?

She remembers nothing.

Oh, but she must. Her beautiful mother.

Madame Carl shook her head.

Does she remember her father?

Again Madame Carl shook her head.

Eva returned her gaze to the woman who would be Salomé Müller. He made shoes, Eva insisted, pointing to her own shoes.

There was an awkward silence.

What happened to your sister? asked Eva.

I remember no sister, replied Mary Miller.

Her master's name is Louis Belmonti, said Madame Carl. A Frenchman.

Now both women avoided the eyes of the woman seated in front of them. A feeling of dread enveloped Eva. How could she be a slave? It wasn't supposed to be like this. For years she had rehearsed the joyful reunion in her mind — the tears of emotion, the laughter, the rejoicing as all her German friends gathered to welcome home the Müller sisters. She looked in sad dismay at Mary Miller. This couldn't be Salomé.

There was a clumping up the steps and Mrs. Fleikener burst into the room. Her husband, her son, her daughter, and her daughter's husband followed. Eva and Madame Carl rose to greet them. More people entered: Mistress Schultzeheimer, along with Eva's son who had been sent to collect her. They stood in a circle staring at Mary Miller, still seated in her chair in the middle of the room. Madame Carl made the introductions. Mary Miller looked blankly into their faces.

The news spread quickly from house to house. The woman who lived next door crept into the Schubers' front room to have a look, followed by her five children. Outside, on the front steps, there were whispered conversations as the history of Daniel Müller and his children was explained to neighbors. Questions were asked and the astounding news conveyed: two of Daniel's daughters had been lost for twenty-five years, but now one was found. Eva's husband, Francis, returned from work to find a crowd spilling out into the street. People rushed to tell him what had happened, and then he was ushered into the house to stare at the woman sitting on a chair in his front parlor. Is that one of the two girls who was lost? he asked.

Then occurred an incident that would be as hotly contested as any other during the court battles that followed. According to the testimony of Eva and Francis Schuber, they took the slave woman into their bedroom and shut the door. Eva sat her on the bed and told her that there was one certain way of identifying her as Salomé Müller. The real Salomé had moles, the size of coffee beans, on the inside of each thigh just below her groin. They were Salome's identification and positive proof of who she was. Did she have such marks? Mary Miller said that she did. Eva insisted on seeing them. As her husband stood guard with his back to the door, she pushed the passive Mary back on the bed, pushed her legs apart, and gathered up the folds of her dress. She examined her right leg. The mole was there. In mounting excitement she rummaged along the other leg, then raised herself from the bed, her face beaming in exultation. She was Salomé Müller. Her goddaughter had returned. She rushed out of the room and into the front parlor. There could be no doubt. Truly, Salomé Müller had returned. There was a great cheer, followed by clapping. Jubilant voices repeated the news to those in the street. Eva had bathed Salomé when she was a child and had seen the moles on her legs. And now she had seen them again. The lost girl had been found. She was back with those who loved her. At last her troubles were over.

In Eva and Francis Schuber's bedroom, the woman who had been identified as Salomé Müller lay spread-eagled on the bed, staring with glazed eyes at the ceiling.

* * *

Mary Miller didn't remain with her rescuers that night. She slipped away from the celebrations and hurried across the city to the house of her owner, a journey that took her several hours on foot.

A few days later, Eva Schuber set off in pursuit. She had hoped that Madame Carl would accompany her, but when she called to collect her friend, she was too ill to rise from her bed. Madame Carl gave detailed instructions on how to find Belmonti's cabaret. It was located in a street close by the convent, she said. In Madame Carl's stead, Eva took along her neighbor, Mrs. White, for moral support.

Belmonti's establishment was described by Cable as "a small-drinking house, a mere cabaret." Cabarets in New Orleans (and there were scores of them) weren't grand affairs — a few chairs for customers to sit on while being served spirits and coffee. They were usually run in single-fronted dwellings; the owners lived upstairs, and often a prostitute conducted her business in the back room. Some cabarets sold groceries, bread, and vegetables, while others were fronts for gambling dens. The better class of cabarets might serve meals and have a man playing a fiddle in the evenings. Belmonti's cabaret wasn't of the better class. His only assistant was Mary Miller, who carried drinks to the tables, went to the market each day to purchase food, and attended to the cleaning and dishwashing.


Excerpted from "The Lost German Slave Girl"
by .
Copyright © 2003 John Bailey.
Excerpted by permission of Grove Atlantic, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's Note,
1 Mary Miller,
2 The Children of Slaves,
3 The Year Without Summer,
4 New Orleans,
5 Sally Miller,
6 John Fitz Miller,
7 Bridget Wilson,
8 Salomé Müller,
9 The First District Judicial Court of New Orleans,
10 The Defense,
11 Judgment,
12 The Appeal,
13 A Presumption in Favor of Liberty,
14 The Children of Salomé Müller,
15 Polly Moore,
16 Nullity,
17 The Woman Who Remembered Nothing,

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Lost German Slave Girl 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
bevtherev More than 1 year ago
As they say, truth is stranger than fiction. This is indicative of this book, which tells of the horrid laws of slavery during the 1800's, and the true tale of a 3 year old child who had emigrated to Louisiana in the early part of the 19th century. After surviving a horrendous ocean voyage to America from Germany, where many died on this voyage, this child, as well as many others who were immigrants, were enslaved temporarily, regardless of their race. The child, however, had an olive complexion, and was taken to be a negro. After many years of being a slave, she was recognized by her godmother, who proceeded to try to get her freed. The story is compelling and should be read by all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have an interest in History, early New Orleans, slavery, or just a very good mystery, this would be a book that you can¿t put down until you finish it. I carried the book around with me until it was finished then wished it was longer. John Bailey has a gift for taking the facts and putting them into a readable narrative which turns history into an interesting and enlightening experience. His work was so well researched that I, as a native of the area, could find no place where he misrepresented the people, facts or language of old New Orleans and the Slavery and legal questions of the early 1800¿s. His method of introducing an explanation of the facts within the narrative gives the reader information supporting the story as it moves along. Quite a feat for a person who is not even from America. This is only his second book but I hope it is not his last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining history. It becomes a supense story of whether Sally Miller will obtain her freedom and has a surprise ending.
loves-to-readVA More than 1 year ago
Interesting, holds your attention, but not one I'm running out telling people they should read. One new insight, I never know about the 'redemptioners' and the possible consequences of the practice. I think any one with a law background would be interested -again because it is a true story.
PatLee More than 1 year ago
The research is presented straight-forward and documents. A book that could be dry and lifeless. It is the exact opposite. I was caught in the story and rooting for the lost German slave girl!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent historical account of one of the most intriguing legal battles ever in Louisiana. The book is very well documented and footnoted, but it reads like a novel. The book has the historical accuracy of Twelve Years A Slave, the plot twists of Gone Girl, and the legal drama of a Law & Order episode.
Guest More than 1 year ago
During the 19th century, Sally Miller was found by Madame Carl Rouff and brings her to the village where German immigrants lived. And everyone recognizes her as Salome Muller, a lost German slave girl. She is a daughter of Daniel Muller who was sold to another slave owner who was from far away. So all the relatives and friends gets separated. Then they never heard from them ever. Sally Miller, by a help of the other German families tries to win a freedom from slavery. The whites, or Europeans, were to be indentured servants because they had to pay off debt that was to come to America. Sally's trial starts with her previous master, John Fitz Miller, the rich owner of slavery. Then it also includes with . John Miller then goes with research that Sally is not Salome and goes with how he bought her, how she didn't have any accents, and that her skin is a bit dark, not white. Then the Defense team with Upton's help proves about how Sally look just like her mother and that she has a mole. Also, with witnesses help, that she did have a German accent and that she was sold to Attakapa where John Miller's farm was. Many of the trials of her fails and people begins to give up. But Upton and Eva, her Godmother, helps her until the end, trying to look for more witnesses to prove. This book, also, shows some examples of many other trials that are similar to this and how the outcome was successful. It, also, shows how people were trying to win their freedom, not giving up, and how they want to prove that they have a right. In my opinion, I think that Sally Miller is not Salome Muller, but I am glad about how she freed herself from slavery, and how strongly her community fought for her. When I read this book, it seemed so realistic to me that this was actually happening now. If there is a time during the class, this book should be read to actually understand how these people felt and why they want freedom so much, that they could risk their life. Later, Sally Miller is freed following by the judges, and she tries to free her own children. This taught me how difficult it is to be freed. There is many ways to be freed, and if none of them works, then there is no way. This taught me how when slave is pregnant, then the children immediately becomes slaves. And the only way to free themselves is to pay certain amount of money or win their freedom someway. If I was one of the slave owner's daughter, I would want to end this and help the slaves with their life. I with everyone in 19th century would feel this way, so that there wouldn't be such thing as slavery since all human are equal. ^_^
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting story. The story really sucks you in and the history reads like a novel as opposed to dry facts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is an amazing book. If you need to understand what it might be like to live in the skin of any of the many characters of this book, or to live in this era of time, delve in!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating story, but a dreadfully written book. The author is trying to tell two stories here. Many authors succeed in this kind of endeavor. He did not. The story of Sally Miller is is the story of the history of laws governing slaves. I hope for readers' sakes, the author and/or editor will take another stab at trying to present it coherently.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I classify this book under "slightly fictionalized historical accounts". I have a few books like this. It was interesting, especially the explanations surround slavery and who was and wasn't or could or couldn't be a slave.
Karlus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story begins in Europe in 1816, during "The Year Without a Summer," as destitute farmers make their way toward the coast after having abandoned their farms and their entire livelihoods in hope of finding a way across the Atlantic to the New World. Finding a willing and scrupulous sea cpatain with a vessel, and then surviving the Atlantic voyage, were neither of them assured possibilities, and the book vividly describes the hardships and uncertainties involved. Many die on the voyage, and one little German girl loses her mother while at sea, and then her father after making shore in New Orleans. Lost and alone in the New World, she is next recognized, 27 years later in 1843, by family acquaintances from the voyage over, in bondage and working as a slave for a New Orleans cabaret.The legal challenge to achieve her freedom occupies the main part of the book and the arm-chair jurors and detectives among us are treated to a full cavalcade of witnesses, too numerous to remember, all with colorful and impossibly conflicting testimonies of life in bustling New Orleans and up-river in the hazardous wilderness outback. Sally Miller, the lost German slave girl, briefly became the focus of a very sharp bright light in local New Orleans history, not least because here she was, a slave, claiming to be a white woman. And in those days, in that territory, there were "black" laws on the books, as well as "white," to strictly regulate and prevent such things! The matter hangs completely in the balance until the very end, as every good mystery should.But this book is also about immigrants who came precariously to these shores in the early days of our Country and the tumultuous lives they faced here. Learn something about part of the growing throng who would one day become the full and varied population of this Country. Read this book! You will come away with new admiration for our predecessors here.
kelawrence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I learned a great deal - and it was written in an engrossing style- not at all like a dry history book. Read it in a weekend!
CBJames on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Lost German Slave Girl by John Bailey tells the incredible true story of Sally Miller and her fight for freedom in New Orleans of the 1840's. While in her 20's Sally Miller was discovered by a local German woman who recognized her as Salome Mueller, a German redemptioner last seen some 20 years prior when a ship load of German immigrants arrived in New Orleans and were sold into bondage in order to repay their passage.The local German community is horrified that his girl ended up living in slavery. Convinced that a great injustice has been done, they take up her cause and hire lawyers to sue not only for her freedom, but for legal recognization that she is white. Her owners, convinced by long years of ownership during which Sally Miller had four children who were also slaves hire their own lawyers and a trial ensues.The bulk of the book is based on surviving transcripts, there was one witness who diligently wrote down every answer to every question though he did not write down the actual questions. Both the initial trial and the inevitable appeal make for fascinating and suspenseful reading. Fans of shows like Law and Order will find much to enjoy in The Lost German Slave Girl. The story truly is stranger than fiction and the surprises keep on coming right up to the end of the book. John Bailey does his homework; he presents all of the evidence and makes us both believe the story and root for Sally Miller. John Bailey provides enough general and specific background that we don't ever completely lose sight of slavery in America itself. I did ask myself why we should be so compelled to read about how this one white woman suffered when so many millions of black men and women suffered far worse with no hope of ever gaining freedom. The author answers this question in the end of the book, but I cannot give it away here. Mr. Bailey saves his final surprise twist for the last page of The Lost German Slave Girl.
Trinity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a great book! The author did a fantastic job of illustrating Sally Miller's case while briefly touching on other landmark slavery cases of the day. The research was very thorough and brought out the human side of the case. There was a great twist at the end of the book you wouldnt expect that leaves you thinking about it even after youve finished reading it. Definately worth a read!
skooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nearly novelized story of Sally Muller, a young German immigrant who was separated from her family only to be found years later by a relative horrified to discover that she had become a slave. The legal battle for her freedom reveals a great deal about the complexities of race and slavery in 1840s New Orleans. While the subject is intriguing, the dramatization is a bit much. Bailey admits that he hit upon this project while being nearly bored to death by his research for a much denser work on slave law. He seems to have overcompensated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book a few years ago and it was fabulous.
Lori-from-Iowa More than 1 year ago
What I found most interesting about this book were the facts. It was interesting to me to learn the laws of slavery back then. Not a lot of story, but it was just facts of the case. Interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im here
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With all the time I put into reading this book, I sure expected a different ending. Not one that had more questions! It was frustrating, while reading the book, even she didn't really know who she that is the saddest part of all! The part I find really unreal, these birth marks on her had to tell people something. Why was it questioned about so much? It is not like you can just dab on birth marks at will. I just didn't like the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More like a text book then a story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago