Customer Reviews: Freedom Road (American History Through Literature)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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on December 16, 2001
THis book was my assignment for US History. At first, I thought it was going to be boring. But I just couldn't put it down after I started.After reading it , I had a better understanding to the difficulties of rebuilding the peaceful society between the blacks and white, especially under the presence if KKK.It is a truly touching and sad book.
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on March 11, 2001
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have found books about the Civil War. This is one of the few books I read that deal with its after-math. It gives a well written illustration of the Reconstruction. The reader becomes the free slave, carpetbagger, poor white and bankrupt plantation owner. As each character meets Gideon Jackson each person discovers their importance in the development of humanity.
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on May 14, 2008
Even though this fictional book was assigned for a class in Civil War history, it turned out to be an enjoyable assignment. It is a very readable account of Reconstruction from 1865 to 1877. The book describes how well Reconstruction was working for recently emancipated slaves in South Carolina, and how bad it was going for the elite southern whites there. It does an amazing job of portraying the positive struggles of African Americans, and some working class whites, and how they were succeeding, until the final withdrawal of Union troops from the South.

This book is fun to read in the beginning, but the sad consequences of Reconstruction bring it to the inevitable conclusion. This does not detract from the book's accurate portrayal of what really caused Reconstruction to fail.

This is an excellent book that you will have no trouble reading in one sitting. If you read this book, you will understand what really happened during Reconstruction, and the real facts that they failed to tell most of us in high school. This book was published in 1944, long before most US historians recognized how southern historians had distorted the country's view of Reconstruction. Thanks to recent historians, we now have a much more accurate picture of this era.
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on February 5, 2014
Wan't quite clear on some points of reconstruction. Although I was surprised at the amount of Northern involvement in trying to recreate the Southern "aristocracy". It was a very informative book. I lived in Alabama for several years and now live in Virginia. I am originally a mid-westerner so I ha d quite a cultural adjustment to make. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially to those who have never lived in the South, it explains a lot of their attitude/bias on several counts.
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on October 15, 2000
I thought this was one of the best books I've ever read, right up there with To Kill A Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath,and Black Boy. Howard Fast's writing style was a little different than what I am used to, but it is very effective. The story of Gideon Jackson is amazing and shows the power of education. I found that I became very passionate about this book. The way that Mr. Fast traces the rise of Gideon with the rise of the KKK is remarkable and the final chapters will leave you not wanting to put the book down. I highly recommend this book.
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on January 12, 2003
To not feel emotion while reading this book is impossible. The reader falls in love with the main character, Gideon Jackson. His enemies become the reader's enemies. His struggles break the reader's heart, because they've grown so close to Gideon. The reader becomes angry, sad, and just upset at how the people and the America that so many people fought for, can just turn its back on these poor black slaves. The hatred and the evilness portrayed by the Klu Klux Klan is unbearable and the reader realizes how unfortunate these times were for the black American. So if you want a very dramatic, but historically true novel this is the number ONE choice!
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on November 17, 2014
This book has been written many years ago. It is still an education to this day. In fact, I would hope that it could become a standard in literature classes. Both historically and politically correct it sadly ended an era which there was hope for the south after the Civil War. Howard Fast, the great novelist, does not fail us with this read. I will be reading his Sparticus next.
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on May 14, 2009
Gideon Jackson, a former slave, returns to the home of his youth in order to begin his post-war life. His wife and children await him and they take their first, halting steps into a free future.

Then the notice comes that all the men over age 21 are meant to go into town to vote. From this simple act comes more change than Gideon ever counted on, and maybe more than he wanted, at least at first.

Based on historic facts for those who care to dig deeply enough, Freedom Road presents a searing, alternative view of Reconstruction, using the words and work of the people it helped; the people for whom freedom was recently earned with great difficulty, and not to be forsaken at any price.

Freedom Road should be required reading for any devotee of quality fiction, for anyone who thinks they know the story of Reconstruction, and for anyone who is not afraid of being presented with issues that cause anger, introspection and, ultimately, hope that a better day has finally come.
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on May 17, 2008
Howard Fast does an extraordinary job of using one former slave, Gideon Jackson, to illustrate the hopes, struggles and triumphs of African Americans after the Civil War. The concept of using a ficional novel to teach actual historical events should be done far more often. The reader is brought in to post war South Carolina to get a glimpse of life for both African Americans and pro and anti slavery whites. Fast is a very good writer and this book should, without doubt, be used in classrooms around the country. It offers a refreshing break from wordy textbooks and students appreciate that!
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on June 9, 2014
This book is amazing to read, taking us back to real American heroes who tried to make life better for all its citizens. The struggles seem so realistic that sometimes I forgot this was a novel. I have read the book and also enjoyed the audible recording. Highly recommended!
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