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Never Caught

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Narrated By: Robin Miles

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: February 2017

Duration: 6 hours 46 minutes


Finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

A startling and eye-opening look into America’s First Family, Never Caught is the powerful narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington’s runaway slave who risked it all to escape the nation’s capital and reach freedom.

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 took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary, and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about which little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: 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, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself one cold 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.

Impeccably researched, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.


  • Brian D

    Too much conjecture and not enough facts and details. Whole I understand it’s difficult to find primary sources, the one that counted most ( her own story) was barely referred too.

  • Abraham Jackson

    I love history but this book was extremely hard to listen to. The narrator made very little effort to offer any inflection in her voice even with the seemingly little dialogue the book offered. I'm not sure it would have been any more entertaining with a different narrator.

Never Caught

by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

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Never Caught, Erica Armstrong Dunbar