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Extended Audio Sample Red River, by Lalita Tademy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,375 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lalita Tademy Narrator: Bahni Turpin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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April 13, 1873. What happened that day in the small Southern town of Colfax, Louisiana, was called “the Colfax Riot.” But it was something far more devastating…

Weaving together history and the story of her own family, Lalita Tademy, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Cane River, has written an epic work of fiction: the dramatic, intertwining story of two families struggling to survive and thrive in an America deeply divided after the Civil War.

For the newly freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of reconstruction promised them the right to vote, own property, and, at last, control their own lives. But in the space of a day, angry whites would take back Colfax in one of the deadliest incidents of racial violence in Southern history. In the bitter aftermath, the Tademys and the Smiths will have to deal with the wreckage, push on, and build a better life for their sons and daughters over the next seventy years.

A unique accomplishment, this is history never before told, brought to life through the unforgettable lives of three generations of African American husbands and wives, parents and children. A saga of violence, courage, and, most of all, dreams broken, repaired, and strengthened over time, Red River explores issues that resonate to this day…as it illuminates the sometimes heartbreaking choices we all must make to claim the legacy that is ours.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Destiny | 2/19/2014

    " Not as good as Cane River but still good. Must read Cane River first. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Nikki | 2/17/2014

    " The 1st one was better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jan | 2/7/2014

    " This book introduced me to a big piece of history that was missing for me. It is historical fiction and takes place in Louisiana, just ten years after the end of the Civil War. It is a story about the freed slaves and how those individuals went about building their lives as free citizens in a still hostile environment. Fully half of the book covers the Colfax Rebellion. The writer bases her story on her own family's history. There is a family tree and occasional photographs. Others who review this book complain that it is not as good as her book Cane River, but I didn't read that first, so this was terrific for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mocha Girl | 1/24/2014

    " Bestselling author, Lalita Tademy, returns to a familiar subject in her family history and sheds light on a dark incident during the Reconstruction period in the antebellum South. Her latest novel, Red River, focuses on the atrocities that occurred April 13, 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana. Many of those affected were ex-slaves who were the overwhelming majority in an area nestled among former plantations and rich farmland. After a lifetime of servitude, these newly freed men exercised their right to vote and ousted the long seated bigoted Democratic county sheriff and judge. They embraced their recently bestowed voting rights and elected residents who either sympathized with their plight (scalawags) or those who had recently located to the area from the North (carpetbaggers) after the Civil War. The election results did not sit well with local white supremacists who chose not to recognize the newly elected officials. When their calls to the governor to uphold the election results went unanswered, the freedmen stood up for their rights only to be shot down at the Colfax courthouse waiting for federal assistance that never came. The end result was the death of three white men and a mass murder of over a hundred African Americans, most of whom were lynched after they had surrendered. No one has ever been held accountable for their deaths. Despite the carnage and the encroaching epoch of Jim Crow, Tademy illustrates that her family's dream did not perish that day. Their vision, determination, and resourcefulness to educate the area's Negro children held fast despite the violent threats and racial hostility. Their family values for education, self-reliance, and self-respect were instilled in each generation and survives in modern day. She celebrates their lives, loves, and births and mourns their losses, sacrifices, and deaths. Readers will admire the family's love, commitment to each other, and loyalty to friends that sustained them through the good and bad times. The essence of the story is Tademy's ability to conjure authentic images and scenarios using her naturally candid approach to storytelling. She gains reader empathy by opening the novel with the reflections of Polly, her spunky, paternal great-great-grandmother, reminiscing about the event. The author aptly weaves a tenable tale of her family's involvement during that fateful juncture - fathers, sons, and friends were wounded, maimed, and others died defending their rights, beliefs, and dignity. The novel, bolstered by credible artifacts and sources, chronicles the events leading up to, during, and the aftermath of the massacre. As in Cane River, the author softens the facts with a personal touch - actual photos of her family who are the novel's key characters. Although, I did not find this offering as instantly engaging as the previous novel; it is still nonetheless a wonderful tribute to the Tademy family. More importantly, I appreciate its value as an educational instrument for this seemingly forgotten incident in American history. Admittedly, I had never heard of the Colfax Massacre prior to reading this book and was surprised that very little has been published about such a major travesty. For this alone, I say - Well Done! "

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