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The Confessions of Nat Turner

by William Styron

In the late summer of 1831, in a remote section of southeastern Virginia, there took place the only effective, sustained revolt in the annals of American Negro slavery…

The revolt was led by a remarkable Negro preacher named Nat Turner, an educated slave who felt himself divinely ordained to annihilate all the white people in the region.

The Confessions of Nat Turner is narrated by Nat himself as he lingers in jail through the cold autumnal days before his execution. The compelling story ranges over the whole of Nat’s Life, reaching its inevitable and shattering climax that bloody day in August.

The Confessions of Nat Turner is not only a masterpiece of storytelling; is also reveals in unforgettable human terms the agonizing essence of Negro slavery. Through the mind of a slave, Willie Styron has re-created a catastrophic event, and dramatized the intermingled miseries, frustrations–and hopes–which caused this extraordinary black man to rise up out of the early mists of our history and strike down those who held his people in bondage.

Winner of the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

“A first-rate novel.” The New York Review of Books
“Styron has brought to bear on the experience of the Afro-American his penetrating intelligence and his immense skills in creating character, writing dialogue and confronting explosive themes” Financial Times
“Immensely powerful and compelling” Spectator
“Magnificent…It is one of those rare books that show us our American past, our present – ourselves – is a dazzling shaft of light…A triumph” The New York Times


About William Styron

William Styron (1925–2006), born in Newport News, Virginia, was one of the greatest American writers of his generation. Styron published his first book, Lie Down in Darkness, at age twenty-six and went on to write such influential works as the controversial and Pulitzer Prize–winning The Confessions of Nat Turner and the international bestseller Sophie’s Choice.



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