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Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, and The Black General Gabriel Hardcover – September 11, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763647926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763647926
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1800, long before the Civil War, there was a slave uprising in Richmond, Virginia, and this stirring fictionalized biography imagines the life of the young rebel leader, Gabriel. Born a slave on a plantation, young Gabriel learns to read with the owner’s son, Thomas, and is trained as a blacksmith in town. But he also witnesses unspeakable brutality: his father is sold away, his mother is whipped, and when Thomas takes over as master, he refuses to allow Gabriel to marry fellow slave Nanny. Inspired by the slave revolt led by Touissant Louverture on Saint Domingue Island, 24-year-old Gabriel calls on his people to fight for freedom, and thousands follow him. With his blacksmith training, he helps forge swords from pitchforks and scythes, but the plot is discovered. The line between fact and fiction is not always clear: Are the slave-owner’s journal entries invented or archival documents? But the authentic newspaper reports put the history in context, and the thrilling role of the unrecognized young hero will grab teen readers. Grades 8-12. --Hazel Rochman

Review

Amateau’s prose is appropriately passionate, but it’s tempered with disciplined restraint and moments of startling delicacy. Although the subject of this title will call to historical fiction readers who appreciate such thoughtful works as M. T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing (BCCB 11/06), teens who approach history with the poetic insight of Marilyn Nelson will also find Amateau’s chronicle rewarding.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

The thrilling role of the unrecognized young hero will grab teen readers.
—Booklist

More About the Author

Gigi Amateau's first book for young adults, Claiming Georgia Tate, was published by Candlewick Press in 2005. That title was selected as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and hailed by author Judy Blume: "It's rare and exciting to discover a talented new writer like Gigi Amateau." The Wall Street Journal called the book "an ambitious push into the young adult market."

She is also the author of A Certain Strain of Peculiar, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, and Chancey of the Maury River, A William Allen White Masters list title for grades 3-5. Come August, Come Freedom, her first work of historical fiction, was named a 2013 Jefferson Cup Honor title and chosen by Bank Street College as a Best Children's Book of the Year. In 2012, Gigi received a Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts from Richmond magazine.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 48 customer reviews
By that I mean the "good" guys have no faults while the "bad" guys have no goodness of any kind in them.
Terry L
In this book, close to being my top favorite - but not quite overtaking "Day of Tears" - the reader is immersed in the world of 18th century slavery.
CCGal
It should have been a riveting story given the historical facts but somehow the author did not get us that engaged with the characters.
M. Tanenbaum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emily J. Morris VINE VOICE on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I admit, I do feel guilt over reading about the work of important historical figures and then snubbing it. But I've done it before and here I am doing it again. Gigi Amateau pulls a figure out of history, tells his story, and somehow in the process completely neglects the storyteller's art. This is a book that will probably be defended with passionate cries of "Butbutbut it's history!"

Sorry, but that's not enough for me.

With all due respect to the Black General, this book is completely dry and lackluster. In Ms. Amateau's excitement of telling this story, she fails to create interesting characters or even work to engage the reader. I found myself soldiering through this book for lack of anything else to do, appreciating the book's situations, but never becoming absorbed into this story. The historical documents tucked everywhere in this book are interesting in and of themselves, but with the dry writing and storytelling are more distractions that left me wondering if they were included simply because Ms. Amateau didn't want to bother writing out the details. In fact, much of this book is told simply through dull summary.

Yes, Ms. Amateau brings to light a fascinating figure from a time of chaos in history, and I appreciate her doing that. But as a novel, this book falls flat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregory McMahan VINE VOICE on August 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book, which reads like a book for young adults, is a fictionalized account of actual events that conveniently have been forgotten (like the U.S.-backed Fenian invasion of Canada, as told in books such as Fianna: A story every Canadian school child learns, but one conveniently forgotten in America., Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle that Made Canada: The History of Canada and Turning Back the Fenians: New Brunswick's Last Colonial Campaign (New Brunswick Military Heritage Series)). It also is a carefully crafted character study of a man trapped by the limits imposed upon him by society, and his attempts, both intellectual and spiritual, to transcend those limitations. In the end, like all true revolutionaries, he responds to failure in the intellectual and spiritual realms by treading the path of violence to achieve his goal.

The book, which is interspersed with simple black-and-white drawings and quite a few historical anecdotes (particularly of the U.S. Atlantic slave trade), is a powerful and stark reminder of a very dark time in American history. Hopefully, one day books like this one will become required reading for all schoolchildren in the United States.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get to know the real, and very sordid, history of America.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Come August, Come Freedom The Bellows. The Gallows and the Black General Gabriel by Gigi Amateau is a quite wonderful novel for young adults. It tells the true story of Gabriel, a slave born in Virginia in 1776. Gabriel is a literate and strong-willed man yearning for freedom. He is a skilled blacksmith who hires out so he can save up to manumit and marry his true love, Nanny. If he can do so then she and her children will be free under Virginia law, but his plan is thwarted. When he hears of the slave revolt that set Haiti free, he decides that he can muster a revolt that will set himself and his peers free.

The book has a number of facsimiles of handbills that are about Gabriel and his slave rebellion. These add to the authenticity of the story and make it all the more poignant. Gabriel fervently desires the American Revolution to be completed so those freedoms apply to himself and all the enslaved. This is a fine example of a tragic story, rife with injustice, bravery and a passionate belief in the inalienable rights of man. The protagonist is admirable and his suffering makes him someone with whom young adults will readily relate.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Come August, Come Freedom tells an important story about a character from history that I would guess few students know much about. Unfortunately, the author does little to compel the reader, turning an exciting piece of history into a rather boring and slow moving novel. Stylistically, the author's prose is often lyrical and moving. Her descriptions are effective, but her characters are curiously flat and one dimensional. The plot seems to have strange gaps, which are usually explained by a sentence or two, but they remove any sense of suspense from the narrative. The novel had the feeling of a series of episodes loosely strung together and reported in an often dispassionate manner. There is very little energy to this story, which is a real shame and a missed opportunity to inspire young readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Schoonover VINE VOICE on September 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With its plot about an important and little explored topic (slave uprising in the United State circa 1800) one would think the new novel for teens COME AUUST, COME FREEDOM: THE BELLOWS, THE GALLOWS, AND THE BLACK GENERAL GABRIEL would be fascinating. Unfortunately the author relies on clichéd characters and circumstances that inhibit the passionate storytelling one would expect.

The hero of the story is Gabriel who is apprenticed to a blacksmith (that's where the bellows in the title of the story comes in). Unable to buy the freedom of his beloved bride Nanny he raises a multiracial army of oppressed people and becomes "The Black General Gabriel". As foreshadowed by the title he meets a sad end at the gallows.

The book is interspersed with documents (letters, flyers, journals, etc.) that the back of the book tells me are "authentic, original documents". Unfortunately in the advanced reading copy I received there is no information as to where these sources are from or any attempt to authenticate them. A bibliography or at least an author's note would give more information as to how much of the story is based on fact and how much simply sprang from the author's imagination. The book is a quick read but it seems like it had the potential to be so much more.
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