Jubilee, 50th Anniversary Edition

Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,272 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The 50th-anniversary edition of Margaret Walker's best-selling classic, with a foreword by Nikki Giovanni.

Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South's antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction.

Weaving her own family's oral history with 30 years of research, Margaret Walker's novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American history.

©2016 Margaret Walker (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    972
  • 4 Stars
    211
  • 3 Stars
    57
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    999
  • 4 Stars
    130
  • 3 Stars
    28
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    11

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    915
  • 4 Stars
    188
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    12

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

History Brought To Life

Excellent story that is very hard to turn off... Starting just before civil war, and following the characters into the 1870's of the reconstruction area, bringing the time vividly alive.. Jubilee tells a true story of a woman born into slavery, as well as her children, highlighting the sad reality of families torn apart, seeking one another in those years after war. This story revolves around the challenges of freedom while still living under the oppression of the whites within the communities where newly freed slaves sought to build their futures.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely riveting!

I enjoyed this novel from start to finish. The narrator's ability to capture the tone of each character was undeniably the most skillful reading tlhat ive ever heard. It leaves me almost speechless! I'm on a mission to look for other books she has narrated. So impressive. Great story.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Listen to this book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Jubilee is harrowing, insightful, heartbreaking and timeless. This story really took me away and the main character is amongst the most inspiring heroines I have ever encountered.

What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

Robin Miles gives effortless life to this book. The dialogue of each character is distinct without ever sounding like a stereotype. She also does a great job with the prose, making it live without ever over dramatizing Margaret Walker's great writing.

Any additional comments?

For me, this book brought so much important history to life. I felt informed, not just about historical events, but also why things happened the way they did and the attitudes of the different people involved. More importantly, Jubilee was such an experience and I could not stop listening. I am glad that after so many years there is such a high quality audio version of Jubilee. I hope that the 50th anniversary release will raise the profile of this under-read classic.
I have never written a review on Audible before but as of when I am writing this there are no reviews on Audible for Jubilee and I feel obligated to let potential listeners know how worth their time and precious credits this book is.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

15 hours we'll spent

I thought the story was incredible and can find nothing to even nitpick about. Narration was good and easy to follow and very much enhanced story. If you're interested in this subject or time or just want a darn good book to listen to... chaching!

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Jubilee is not just a read but an experience

This book not only provides a historical understanding but also a personal experience. The story is told with vivid characters
that capture historical events that touch emotions. The rhythmic language and spiritual songs add depth to the story.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than Gone With the Wind.

What made the experience of listening to Jubilee, 50th Anniversary Edition the most enjoyable?

The stories of the struggles of Vyry and her family were sometimes harrowing but also inspiring.

What other book might you compare Jubilee, 50th Anniversary Edition to and why?

People call this the Slave version of Gone With the Wind. This is much better. The slaves endured such hardship but yet the author also speaks compassionately about the overseeers and the slave owners families. Gone with the wind did not deal much with the actual lives of slaves.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene toward the end when Vyry reveals that she too had been beaten. That scene summed up much of the modern struggle with racism. Blacks accusing other blacks of being a "White man's negro." The belief that blacks and whites can never live together peacefully and that white people will always try to beat blacks down.The belief that one should just ignore racial mistreatment and try not to make the white people mad. And Vyry's belief that she must help people when she can, no matter who they are and not concern herself with their motives.

Any additional comments?

I was surprised to learn that Negroes and Indians were forbidden by law to own firearms after the Civil War. So much for the 2nd amendment.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you for the taste of history and Jubilee! :-)

This book was very well-written I got an opportunity to feel and experience the characters and their personalities. The story was tender suspenseful and humanistic! Great listen!

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

4.5 stars for a really great audiobook!

Jubilee was one of those books I hadn't heard about until I saw it as an Audible Daily Deal. I looked into the history of the book and its author and I found out some interesting things. Ms. Walker released this story in the 1960s and it was well received. In truth, I can see why. Many people, including myself, saw this as a realistic story on slavery and the 7 years after it was abolished as it shows both the hope and disappointment that many blacks faced during the before, during, and after the Civil War. The story is based on Ms. Walker's real-life Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather that she wanted to share as a historical fiction.

The story switches between multiple points of view but it's done so subtly I wasn't really bothered by it. Ms. Walker's timing and writing about the switching of thoughts and opinions of the different characters. One way Ms. Walker introduces us to this switching of POVs is that she starts the story, literally the first chapter, by giving us the backstory of how the main character, Vyry, came into existence. Vyry's mother, Sis Hetta, is a slave that gets repeated sexually assaulted by her master, John Dutton, who is also the owner of the plantation she lives on. She is 29 yet has a total 15 children through her husband and master by the time she unfortunately passes away from a sickness. It's sad how often many female slaves were assaulted by their masters. They were seen as "practice" before marriage and release when men were unsatisfied with their wives. It wasn't right, but I knew that Ms. Walker wasn't going to shy away from harsh reality slaves, including her own family members, had faced. It was even sadder how often the children born from these encounters were seen as their father's "property" not children. The feelings John Dutton has towards Sis Hetta are complex as he seems to genuinely care for her but is unable to grasp it. These were slightly common for men of the time. Whether it was love or satisfaction in "her duty" I cannot say.

After that the story tends to focus on the life of Vyry and her life. We share in loving moments with adopted family members and shockingly horrible moments that many slaves experienced. There are holiday celebrations, weddings, and daily duties the Dutton family, the overseer Grimes, and the slaves on the plantation have and they are all so different. The Duttons are well-respected and rich so they do things in a grand manner and try to be as generous as their natures can afford. Grimes is considered a poor/middle class man who works hard for a family he has both jealously, respect, and resentment towards as he has to work constantly in all forms of weather. He relies on the Duttons and knows they control him a little less than the slaves he controls. Lastly, the slaves are below the poverty line as they rely on the Duttons for everything (a new pair of clothes and shoes once a year, for example). We see the different levels of slaves also in the book: the outsides slaves who work the fields and house slaves who help the chores and maintenance of the plantation.

There were even mentions of feminine hygiene and how someone would deliver first aid after a slave was beaten or whipped. I was surprised and happy the the depth and details Ms. Walker went into this story. It seemed truly like no stone was left unturned in regards to writing or questions a person would have in a life for all the different people that were in the Deep South. The story takes brief breaks with passages of political, social, and economical states of not only the South but the North and nation as a whole. Many people have felt that these moments interrupted the flow as a story, but I liked these moments as it helped me understand Vyry's and the other characters lives we follow. The characters are very different with different standings throughout the novel (born free black versus slave, poor whites versus rich blacks, farmers versus business owners, or educated versus uneducated people are examples of the differences touched on). Beware of the possibility that these points added to the complexity of the book.

Another arc of the story was the romances Vyry has with two different men: Randall Ware, an educated born-free black man who owns his own blacksmith business, and Innis Brown, a freed slave who wants to own and work his own farm. These men show the different types of men that were around before and after slave. Randall was able to use his skills to help the Union Army and become involved in politics to try and better the lives of his fellow blacks. He is a stubborn man who I grew to really admire and feel for when he both stumbled and succeeded. Innis Brown is an every man for blacks who just wants to fulfill his dream of having a family and living his "simple" dream of having his own farm and land but struggles due to be unable to read or write. There comes a moment where the reader has to ask themselves who they would rather have Vyry with, and, honestly, I couldn't tell you who was the better choice. Both men have their flaws and strengths and made me think of men I know personally. I grew to really like all the characters including Vyry throughout the book.

If I'm completely truthful of my feelings I can't say this is a perfect book for me even though it's a super good book. As odd as it sounds I feel a part of this unhappiness stems from Vyry being shown as the epitome of a black woman. She's strong in her faith, hardworking, talented, stubborn, and loving as person and I love her for those traits. However, she can't seem to do anything wrong or make mistakes. Something injustice always happens to her but she never seems to do anything to warrant it. There are moments where her oldest son, Jim, isn't too happy with her but he believes that she has to be the way she is out of womanly loyalty to her husband. Nobody is perfect or want to write bad about their dead family member (most of the time but not always) and in this case I feel it kind of hindered the story and Vyry's further growth has a person.

Lastly, I really enjoyed Robin Miles as a narrator. I've heard another audiobook narrated by her previously and found her to be the best part of that story. (It wasn't my favorite sci-fi.) She voiced about 20 people throughout the story and other minor characters, yet made the voices distinct enough to not get too confusing for me to follow. That is a job well done! If you find a book with Robin Miles as the narrator definitely try to listen to it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A joy to listen to

This is the best book I have ever listened to I love the narrator just a joy. A MUST READ 😀

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A tearful, joyful look into the past through dark eyes

This novel, which is based on a true story, relates the pre- and post civil war experience through African American eyes. It illustrates the fortitude and resilience that blacks had to have to endure slavery and its aftermath in an unreceptive, inhospitable, white society.

We need that same fortitude today, as we still strive to be seen as the strong, intelligent, resourceful people that we have always had to be. I doubt whether the white race could have survived under similar circumstances. That which didn’t kill us did make us stronger!

3 people found this helpful