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Extended Audio Sample Red River Audiobook, 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: January 2007 ISBN: 9781415936221
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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 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 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 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 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! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 1/19/2014

    " A historical account of the massacre at Colfax, Louisiana after the Civil War. Pretty Grim. But something that should be in the history books. Lalita Tademy takes on a difficult subject and does a good job of it, even if it is pretty brutal to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 1/16/2014

    " Not too sure on this one yet - only 100 pages into it and it is okay so far. Only time will tell. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monika | 1/15/2014

    " COULD NOT FINISH...STARTED GOOD BUT GOT BORING AROUND PG 100 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Surabhi | 1/15/2014

    " Very enjoyable book with fascinating characters. Anything to do with the plight of African-Americans post-slavery is always heart-wrenching too. I will probably read Cane River as a result. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 12/30/2013

    " If you enjoyed Cane River you will like this as well. Cane River followed 4 generations of women of the authors mother's family. Red River concentrates on the authors fathers ancestors. Written as a novel, yet brimming with actual history, Lalita Tademy is a master at historical fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 susie | 12/8/2013

    " didn't like it as much as Cane River "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nedra Bennett | 12/2/2013

    " After a slow start the book finally came alive. The author does a great job of fictionally following her own family through the generations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffany | 12/1/2013

    " Great book. Really difficult to read at times, but this is a terrible part of our nation's history that we mustn't forget. Didn't enjoy this as much as the author's other book Cane River, but this one is much darker(because of actual events). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheila Mayo | 11/23/2013

    " This is the second of Tademy's novels about her family. I found both of them very good reads! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barb | 11/21/2013

    " currently reading, but after cane river, i trust the author "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin Marie | 11/18/2013

    " Really intense and eye-opening. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down even though sometimes I was so freaked out that I wanted to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Del Simmons | 11/3/2013

    " An amazing history of a black community in the South after the Civil War and the tragedy that ensued when they tried to exercise their new found rights as freed people. Gripping and engaging to read. Highly recommended. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Veronica Sanche | 6/9/2013

    " This is a fictionalized history of a part of the author's family life. However, it was boring: the tone was flat, the characters were flat and it was a tedious read. Loved the pictures. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl Thomas | 12/27/2012

    " started out okay, but the middle part was real slow, picked up again at the end. It was a good story line, very interesting, but parts seemed pretty predictable. Glad I read to hear about this part of history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samantha | 11/21/2012

    " An bittersweet memoir of courage and endurance,wisdom and faith. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 5/13/2012

    " There aren't many books that I don't like. This was based in the late 1800's early 1900's during the end of slavery and when blacks could vote and own their own land. Lalita Tademy does a great job of describing her ancestors lives. I also enjoyed her book "Cane River". Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen Saltarelli | 10/8/2011

    " I learned ..... how hard, hard, hard, it was for the people who were the characters in this book. I am still horrified by the things they had to go through just to live peacefully and free. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 8/15/2011

    " An interesting follow up to Cane River, also very good! This follows a different side of the family and how they come together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Puchtelld | 8/10/2011

    " Loved this book and the history that it told. This is rich with history and I loved the way she wove in her family history and kinships "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phyllis | 5/28/2011

    " A well written, heartfelt account of the 1873 Colfax. Louisiana massacre. This is an historical novel told from the "colored" side, intertwining the massacre with the black families involved and the descendants of the few who survived. I had never heard of this piece of history before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 4/11/2011

    " Red River is about the reconstruction period after the civil war and illustrates the difficulties for blacks between 1873 and up to about 1935. A very good story! This historical fiction, even though very graphic and brutal, is very much believable! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Barbara | 3/3/2011

    " I loved Cane River, so hopefully this one will be as good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samantha | 2/9/2011

    " An bittersweet memoir of courage and endurance,wisdom and faith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin Marie | 2/5/2011

    " Really intense and eye-opening. I read it in two days, couldn't put it down even though sometimes I was so freaked out that I wanted to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elsie | 1/26/2011

    " Perfect follow up of the story of her father's family. May we never forget the injustice done after emancipation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 1/25/2011

    " Very good. Depicts two African-American families struggles after the Civil War.Weaves together history and the story of her own family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 1/12/2011

    " i loved this book. although a sad read I learned a lot about the Colfax Massacre "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 11/29/2010

    " Great look at the black people from 1878 to 1935. It brings the characters to life as if you know them personally. Great addition to Cane River.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 11/12/2010

    " A historical account of the massacre at Colfax, Louisiana after the Civil War. Pretty Grim. But something that should be in the history books. Lalita Tademy takes on a difficult subject and does a good job of it, even if it is pretty brutal to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nedra | 9/29/2010

    " After a slow start the book finally came alive. The author does a great job of fictionally following her own family through the generations. "

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About the Author
Author Lalita Tademy

Lalita Tademy was born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents’ Southern roots. A former vice president of Sun Microsystems, she left the corporate world to immerse herself in tracing her family’s history and writing her first book, Cane River, based on the lives of four generations of colored Creole slave women in Louisiana, women Tademy descended from. She is also the author of Red River, a historical novel based on real events during Reconstruction after the Civil War. 

About the Narrator

Bahni Turpin has won seventeen AudioFile Earphones Awards and three prestigious Audie Awards for her audiobook narrations, and Publishers Weekly magazine named her Narrator of the Year for 2016. She is an ensemble member of the Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles. She has guest starred in many television series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, Cold Case, What about Brian, and The Comeback. Film credits include Brokedown Palace, Crossroads, and Daughters of the Dust. She is also a member of the recording cast of The Help, which won numerous awards.