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Freeman [Kindle Edition]

Leonard Pitts
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (317 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

At bottom, 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.

Editorial Reviews


""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

About the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr., is an award-winning columnist and the author of the novel Before I Forget; the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994–2009, and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood.

Sean Crisden is a multitalented actor and an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator who has recorded audiobooks in almost every genre, from science fiction to romance. He has also voiced characters in numerous video games and appeared in many commercials and films, including The Last Airbender.

Product Details

  • File Size: 717 KB
  • Print Length: 415 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1932841644
  • Publisher: Agate Bolden (May 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008164K6A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,081 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully riveting 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
5.0 out of 5 stars painfully touching 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally Powerful & Wrenching June 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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
5.0 out of 5 stars COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN- EXCELLENT!!. June 10, 2012
By Annie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. May 28, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Imagining the Unimaginable September 25, 2012
By law
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Would have given it six stars if I could... June 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I wold recommend this novel to anyone who has the desire to ...
Leonard Pitts takes you back to the days of reconstruction in the South. The story is told through the eyes of several newly freed black men and women. Read more
Published 3 days ago by chowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Would definitely recommend this is a must read
Published 17 days ago by Belinda354
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, illuminating, gripping.
I found these stories of those affected by the end of slavery fascinating, illuminating, gripping, and more. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Lynn M. Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderfully written and very engaging. It's a tough subject. I had to put it down from time to time.
Published 1 month ago by Twing Pitman
5.0 out of 5 stars This was an important story to tell.
What an impactful work. I first heard of this book when Leonard Pitts was a guest on C-Span2 participating in a Black Writers Symposium on Slavery. Read more
Published 1 month ago by E. A. Stowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Freeman
An outstanding novel and gut-wrenching story set in the aftermath of the Civil War. It is a story of both black and white coming into their true identity and beginning to make new... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Generic story telling.
I'm definitely in the minority here but I found this to be dreadfully drawn out fiction at best. Predictable twists and a transparent plot woven around a story I wanted to love but... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful story of people that didn't see color after the...
This is a wonderful story of people that didn't see color after the Civil War. How one person changed so many lives, both in positive and negative ways. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story
This book is gripping. It made me understand the legacy of the slavery in the south and how it has made the south what it is today. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gerry Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars So much history and so sad. But could not put the book down
So much history and so sad. But could not put the book down.
Lots of tears shed .Very well written. I recommended the book to several people and they enjoyed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by claudia l carrington
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