Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Beginnings: Breaking Chains by Gregory Nokes

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader now has a Facebook page. I plan to post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it, or click the button over there in the right hand column.  I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I am trying to follow all Book Beginning participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.



There are two versions of how Robin and Polly Holmes, both Missouri slaves, came to Oregon. One, told by Robin Holmes, is that his owner, Nathaniel Ford, persuaded him to come in exchange for his freedom. The other, told by Ford descendants, is that Holmes begged to come and Ford brought Holmes – and Holmes' wife and children – against his better judgment.
-- Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by R. Gregory Nokes. 

Breaking Chains is the story of Robin Holmes' 1853 trial against his former owner Nathaniel Ford for breaking his promise to free him and his family in exchange for getting Ford's Oregon farm up and running.  Nokes uses the story of the Holmes family to explore how the issues of slavery and racism played out in the American West.

Nokes is a former journalist and the author of Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon (reviewed here), the highly readable account of 34 Chinese gold miners murdered in Hell's Canyon in1887.  There is a new documentary, also called Massacred for Gold, based on the book (watch the trailer here).


  1. Sounds like an interesting read!

  2. This sounds like a fascinating book. It's nonfiction, right?

  3. Interesting opening, definitely sets up the characters and the overall setting to the reader.

    My Friday Book Memes

  4. This week, my book explores an alternate history, when Eleanor Roosevelt ran against Ike for president. I'm just starting, so I don't know the outcome yet.

  5. This sounds like a really interesting book. I think there's still a lot of tension around the subject of slavery, which is also shown by the controversy films like Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave cause! Thanks for hosting, hope you have a great weekend,
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  6. It sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for sharing it!

  7. Very interesting subject for a book. Thanks for sharing.

  8. The opening draws you immediately in . . .

  9. Sounds interesting.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  10. I would like to read this one.

  11. This is definitely going on my list.

  12. This is only the second time I'm participating but I can't wait to see if any trends emerge based on my book beginnings, and also that of others who are participating in your meme. Really loved the concept when I first stumbled across this! :)

  13. This sounds like a very interesting book. Hope you enjoy it.


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