by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
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"Freeman: The Award-Winning Novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr." More details here.
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.
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. Read an excerpt from Freeman, here.
PRAISE FOR FREEMAN
"Leonard Pitts has a passion for history and a gift for storytelling. Both shine in this story of love and redemption, which challenges everything we thought we knew about how our nation dealt with its most stubborn stain."
—Gwen Ifill, PBS, author of The Breakthrough
"I so love this story! Mr. Pitts has done it again. The man crafts a novel as well as the great storytellers of our time. "Freeman" captured my attention from the very first sentence and my heart throughout. Sam and Tilda will stay with me for a very long time. I can't let them go."
—Sybil Wilkes, co-host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show
"Post-Civil War America is fertile ground for novelists, but few have tilled it with such grace and majesty as Leonard Pitts. In Freeman, Pitts weaves a beguiling, cinematic love story against a rich tapestry of American history, evoking unforgettable characters in a narrative that could easily replace a shelf of textbooks. What a splendid read!"
"Pulitzerm Prize-winning columnust Pitts once again demonstrates his gift for historical fiction; having examined the African-American experience of the 20th century in 2009's Before I Forget, he turns his lens to the painful aftermath of the Civil War in his newest . . . In lyrical prose, Pitts unflinchingly and movingly portrays the period's cruelties, and triumphs in capturing the spirit of the times through eminently-identifiable lead characters."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
[A] uniquely American epic . . . Freeman is an important addition to the literature of slavery and the Civil War, by a knowledgeable, compassionate and relentlessly truthful writer determined to explore both enslavement in all it's malignancy and also what it truly means to be free."
--Howard Frank Mosher, Washington Post
"A gorgeously-written book. A searing, wrenching read."
--Jennifer Weiner, CBS News Sunday Morning
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Agate Bolden
Available on Nook and Kindle
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