Deeply moving and illuminating, Trouble the Water reveals the little-known real-life story of Robert Smalls. Born enslaved before the Civil War, Smalls witnesses great privilege and immense suffering alongside his owner's daughter and the dangerous son of a firebrand secessionist. When he's only twelve, he's put to work in Charleston, where he loads ships and learns to pilot a cotton steamer. When the war erupts and his cotton steamer becomes a confederate warship, Robert attempts a harrowing escape to freedom for himself and the people he loves.
top of page
bottom of page