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Freeman Paperback – May 8, 2012


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Freeman + Before I Forget + Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Bolden; Original edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932841644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932841640
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR FREEMAN:

"Columnist Leonard Pitts turns out a pretty powerful love story." —Audie Cornish, All Things Considered

"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 its malignancy and also what it truly means to be free." —Howard Frank Mosher, Washington Post

"Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist [Leonard] Pitts once again demonstrates his gift for historical fiction.... 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

"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

"Freeman is a myth of what’s humanly possible, a needed story about little-known heroism, and a shadow thrown forward to the struggles of American families in the 21st century." —John Timpane, Philadelphia Inquirer

"A wonderful, moving, riveting novel." —Gabrielle Union, actress

"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!" —Herb Boyd, co-editor of By Any Means Necessary—Malcolm X: Real, not Reinvented

"Leonard Pitts, Jr., who won a Pulitzer Prize for his searing Miami Herald columns, may well pick up that award again for Freeman...[Pitts] richly illuminates the interior lives of free and enslaved Black folks. He also delivers a sweeping romance that reaffirms the power of love even against the most horrific circumstances." —Patrik Henry Bass, Essence magazine

"Rich in period details from the mundane to the most atrocious, the captivating story Pitts weaves is simplistic in its resonance but complex in its emotions. The characters and their growth, their fierce and stirring highs and lows, their battles with their own prejudices, make this novel unforgettable." —Amy Canfield, Miami Herald

"The characters are multi-dimensional and the historical detail is astonishingly accurate. Freeman is an engrossing, moving read and an original portrayal of a pivotal time in our nation's history." —IndieBound's Indie Next List for June, Terri Weiner, Village Books, Bellingham, Washington

"Leonard Pitts, Jr. 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, The Tom Joyner Morning Show

"Author Leonard Pitts, Jr. serves up a novel that's both ugly and beautiful, with characters that you'll feel honored to know...one of the finest Civil War novels I've ever read. If you promised yourself one decent book this summer, then look no further because this is it. Read three pages of Freeman and you'll know that this isn't a story you'll soon forget." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez

"Seamlessly, [Pitts] weaves together the fates of people in a way that is both incredible yet exactly how it should be...this book is an eye-opening commentary on devotion during this tangled chapter of American history." —Wendi Thomas, Memphis Commercial Appeal

"I fell in love with Leonard Pitts Jr.'s fiction with Before I Forget. Now he's out with a new one, Freeman....It's a beautiful book, and I highly recommend it." —Carleen Brice, White Readers Meet Black Authors blog

"An epic tale of love and war, this novel resonates with humanity’s depth of longing and hope in the most atrocious circumstances....Astounding for its portrayal of the vulnerability inherent in lost innocence and tragedy, Freeman is a beautiful story of redemption, compassion and love....I highly recommend this book. It will leave you craving more. It is simply astonishing." —BookPeople's Blog, Austin, Texas

"This gripping and difficult novel remains a story of imperfect triumph for those former slaves and for the handful of whites who try to help them...[Pitts] keeps the reader hooked through outrage after outrage." —Arlene McKanic, BookPage

"Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a compelling storyteller and in Freeman he explores the meaning of freedom; he expresses a tone of sympathy for his characters troubles in this gripping tale about sacrifice and determination." —Clarence Reynolds, The Network Journal

"It's the kind of book that you have to read, like stories of the Holocaust. Freeman reminds us of our humanity." —Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, North Carolina

"Eye-opening...[Freeman] should give us insight into the capacity for love between men, women and children, separated by the institution of slavery." —Charles E. Richardson, Macon Telegraph (Georgia)


PRAISE FOR LEONARD PITTS, JR.:

"Leonard Pitts, Jr. is the most insightful and inspiring columnist of his generation." —Tavis Smiley

"He refuses to be predictable or to rest on his considerable laurels. He is funny when you think there's not a smidgen of humor to be found, enraged at the very moment we thought we no longer cared, and he shakes us up just when we're so certain we have it all figured out. In other words, he makes us better for having read him. What a gift. In sparse, often electric prose, Pitts challenges us to be bigger than we thought possible, and then shows us how to get there." —Connie Schultz, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"As a long-time reader and admirer, I find there is only one thing to question about Leonard Pitts being awarded the Pulitzer Prize: What took them so long?" —Bob Costas

About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr. was born and raised in Southern California and now lives in suburban Washington, DC, with his wife and children. He is a columnist for the Miami Herald and won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novel Before I Forget (Agate Bolden, 2009); the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009, Daily Triumphs, Tragedies, and Curiosities (Agate Bolden, 2009); and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (Agate Bolden, 2006).

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Customer Reviews

The book was that well written, the characters that genuine, the story line that original.
K. Jhung
Over the years I've read many books, fiction and fact, about that terrible period in our history that encompassed what I can only think of as the American Holocaust.
Sky
Loved loved loved this book, can't wait to read more, in fact I prolonged getting to the end just to savor the last few pages.
Maxine Wesley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Edwina Putney on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Freeman by Leonard Pitts is totally engrossing from beginning to end. It is an historical fiction book, set in the post Civil War era and deals with the power of love, the fulfillment of promises, and the obsessive need for forgiveness. It weaves the individual stories of Sam, Tilda, and Prudence into a majestic historical tale.

Sam, a former runaway slave, is compelled to return to the war-torn South in search of Tilda, the wife he left behind 15 years earlier in his quest for freedom. His search for Tilda is not only to recapture the love of his life, but to also obtain her forgiveness.

Meantime, Tilda is being forced by her former slave master, at gunpoint, to walk in search of a place where former slave owners are still fighting to maintain their previous way of life--the life to which they fiercely believe they are entitled to keep at all costs. Without hope of rescue, Tilda resigns herself to her place in life.

Prudence, a wealthy white Northern widow, sets out, against the advice of her Negro friend Bonnie, to establish a school for former slaves, thereby fulfilling her promise to her dying father.

These three people move through the dangerous times, facing innumerable obstacles and brutalities, yet not fully comprehending the realities and implications of the South's defeat upon its citizens.

Leonard Pitts' second novel is a beautifully written and unforgettable narrative, that is certain to propel him into superstardom with the likes of Toni Morrison, J. California Cooper, and Zora Neal Hurston.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By anu shaheed VINE VOICE on May 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
finished reading Freeman, and there are times I had to literally put this book down, it's hard especially being african american to read about our people being treated in such inhumane way, this story is so touching, sad, and I'm so hoping for happy ending, I must say this by far my favorite! book from Mr Pitts, awesome....I don't want to tell the story, for readers who love great well written book u better grab it! love, determination, unity and beliving conquers all
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Segebarth on June 24, 2012
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As a fervent reader of Leonard Pitts' columns, I was intrigued regarding his newly published novel Freeman and downloaded it. Set in the immediate post-Civil War era in the South, it portrays the lives of Black and White characters in that era. I won't repeat the gist of the novel as this is described elsewhere. I place Freeman in the top three of the roughly 2,500 books I have read over the past ten years. The characters -- both Black and White -- are complex and each reveals determination to achieve mission as well as insecurities, weaknesses, and guilt. You'll find it hard to stop reading. I was so galvanized that what would probably be a 3 - 4 day read (with another book or two in the mix) turned out to be a one-day read. As my title indicates, the novel is wrenching emotionally throughout the entire book. Frankly, you do not laugh or smile except at rare intervals. Be prepared to tear up frequently. And, sad to say, behavior and prejudice depicted by Mr. Pitts in 1865 remain with us in 2012 disguised, perhaps, with a bit more "political correctness". Freeman is an outstanding book, easily earning five stars.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Annie on June 10, 2012
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I have been a huge fan of Leonard Pitts for years but this is the first time I have read a novel written by him. I immediately became interested in the characters and it brought me to tears and made me laugh a few times too! I will save this as one of the novels that I will re-read in ten years. Excellent!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on May 28, 2012
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I loved Freeman from cover to cover. I loved the idea of a freed slave totally focused on finding the woman he had loved. Sam felt guilt for the death of his son, and after slavery is over he is determined to make it back to Tilda in Mississippi. Of course Tilda is living a different life, she has responded to freedom in a different way. The story is full of history surrounding the end of slavery and is unflinching in its honesty. Mr. Pitts is an amazing storyteller and Freeman is a much needed price of history. Highly recommended.

Angelia Vernon Menchan
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By law on September 25, 2012
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If ever there was a period in American history that individuals from nearly every walk of life faced a new reality that they had probably never imagined would occur in their life time, reconstruction was it. This book presented the obvious societal shifts very thoughtfully; however, the author seemed to hesitate a bit when faced with addressing the subtle aspects of some of those new realities. Though it was a good read, I wish the author would have dared to explore more of those subtleties than the readily imaginable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By NITRA on June 21, 2012
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Like any good book there were parts I loved and some I hated. Overall I found Freeman to be very interesting and rewarding. The book was not predictable and had a few surprises. I loved the fact that the book made me think what would I have done if put in this situation. How slave owners and slaves would react the day after the Civil War ended. Slave owners since of loss and desire to hold on to the past. How after being born into slavery what a slave do differently to distinguish themselves as free man.

I remember sitting in Black History class in college and the professor talking about carpetbaggers going to the south during the war. Prudence trip down south put a spin on that story because she went after the war for no personal gain. I think she would have had more problems trying to setup a school for the freed slaves in a small southern town then was mentioned in the book. I could have seen the towns people running her out of town the first day she arrived.

The anticipation of wondering if Sam would ever find Tilda and if she would accept him if he did find her keep me glued to the book. This was a wonderful love story hidden in a historical fiction. After realizing it was a love story I started to connect more with the characters and cheered Sam on for his quest to find Tilda. I like that the book showed how the actions of one person could unintentionally effect others.
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