Book - 2012
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Freeman , the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam--a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army--decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged."

At the same time, Sam's wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slaveowner and Confederate officer.

The book's third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father's dying wish.

At bottom, Freeman is a love story--sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient--about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain , Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise--and the terror--of their new status as free men and women.
Publisher: Chicago : Agate, 2012.
ISBN: 9781932841640
Branch Call Number: PITTS L
Characteristics: 404 pages ; 23 cm.


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Aug 07, 2018

I loved this novel and I am going to recommend for our reading club. It was easy to read but a powerful story.

May 18, 2017

Have had this book on my to-read list for a few years because it wasn't at my local library. Was pleasantly surprised to come across it on the New shelf this month even though it's 5 years old. What a powerful story of post civil war. Told from three perspectives: a free slave from Philadelphia who walks 1000 miles to find his wife; his wife who is being marched to Arkansas by her abusive owner who refuses to give up his "property;" and a spunky white Boston woman who heads south to set up a school to educate the newly freed slaves. You will feel the frustration, agony, hope, and determination of the richly developed characters in this book as they courageously adapt to a new way of life even as others are refusing to accept the new laws of the nation. Very good!

Mar 16, 2017

Page turner indeed, detailed and beautifully written. Enjoyed reading this, looking forward to reading more by this author.

Aug 08, 2016

This is a good engaging read. FREEMAN is the story of the south following the end of the Civil War. The story line stretches credulity to the limit at times but the book is redeemed by the fact that Leonard Pitts does an extraordinary job of capturing feelings, motives,actions, and emotions of both ex slaves and ex slave owners during the post Civil War period.


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