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Red River  By  cover art

Red River

By: Lalita Tademy
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
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Publisher's Summary

April 13, 1873. What happened that day in the small Southern town of Colfax, Louisiana, was called "the Colfax Riot." But it was something far more devastating....

Weaving together history and the story of her own family, Lalita Tademy, author of the acclaimed New York Times best seller Cane River, has written an epic work of fiction: the dramatic, intertwining story of two families struggling to survive and thrive in an America deeply divided after the Civil War.

For the newly freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of reconstruction promised them the right to vote, own property, and, at last, control their own lives. But in the space of a day, angry whites would take back Colfax in one of the deadliest incidents of racial violence in Southern history. In the bitter aftermath, the Tademys and the Smiths will have to deal with the wreckage, push on, and build a better life for their sons and daughters over the next 70 years.

A unique accomplishment, this is history never before told, brought to life through the unforgettable lives of three generations of African American husbands and wives, parents and children. A saga of violence, courage, and, most of all, dreams broken, repaired, and strengthened over time, Red River explores issues that resonate to this day...as it illuminates the sometimes heartbreaking choices we all must make to claim the legacy that is ours.

©2007 Lalita Tademy (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Through her characters, the author paints an indelible portrait of rural life under Jim Crow, built around backbreaking farm labor, blood ties that bind and chafe, and the omnipresent fear of a capricious white racism that can undo in a moment the work of a lifetime. Combining family anecdotes with historical research and a rich imagination, Tademy crafts another American epic." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Red River

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Stilted, painful for the listener

What was most disappointing about Lalita Tademy’s story?

Stilted narrative, most of which was done in third person. The narrator did a fine job, but can't overcome the book's glacial pace. Charitably gave it two points for the subject matter. I liked Cane River, but not this one. I wish I could get my credit back.

What does Bahni Turpin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I liked her, but she couldn't save this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Should be mandatory reading!

My grandmother bought some land in a neighboring town decades after this story but because I’m familiar with the area, the name of this book called out to me. This account was so much more than I even expected, though. Riveting and gut-wrenching, this book not only details the depths of two major families but also pulls the curtain back on the ugly truth of our past. I wish more books like this existed and I wish they were required reading for schools and colleges. A century of separation has shaded the eyes of most of my white race and they feel removed and remain uninformed of the daily atrocities that have paved the path African American families traveled to arrive to this day (not to mention the things that still remain to this day). I believe empathy, respect, and admiration (at the least) is well over due and reading such a rich story would go far to bring that about.

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The Lone Star of Texas

Read "Cane River" years ago and I became obsessed with this genre. I crown Ms Turpin queen of audio books. The characters come to life through her voice while the text becomes a visual history. The last chapter will aide me in my search of my heritage. Thanks

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The massacre of 1873 in Koufax, La of the perseverance of two families.

This book is about how this black community survived the racist Jim Crow era through the pushing and persistence of the Tademy family-never giving up , valuing education , and
respect of their manhood ‼️

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Mixed Feelings

I don't want to give this book a bad review but my feelings are mixed. So I will say this... I didn't enjoyed it as much as I like Caine River. Caine River left me with a complete understanding of why colorism still exists in the minds of some of us today. This book left me feeling disappointed and wanting more .

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I loved this book!

I chose this book after reading Cane River and enjoying it. Of the two, Red River is my favorite! Each character is meticulously crafted. I found myself moved by each of their stories in one way or another. This book has been not only entertaining, but inspiring. It is a true testament to the power of love, family and community. I think everyone should read this, male, female, young and old. There is someone to relate to no matter who you are.

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Insightful and captivating

Just like Cane River, I couldn't put this book down. Even though it is not a sequel to Cane River. The author maintains the same tone in this book. She reveals her family and legacy through accurate and colorful detail.

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Awesome story but...

THIS BOOK TELLS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AUTHORS FAMILY ON HER DADS SIDE. IT WAS VERY HARD TO LISTEN TO THE RIOT CHAPTERS. IT SADDENED ME AND I MUST ADMIT THE STORY THAT LEAD UP TO IT LOST MY INTEREST. BUT I MANAGED TO FINALLY FINISH THIS BOOK. IT REALLY IS A GOOD STORY. JUST DONT LET THE BEGINNING THROW U OFF. READ ALSO CAIN RIVER IT WAS MUCH MUCH BETTER LOL

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A Necessary Book

I would suggest this book to any African American who for whatever reason remains ambivalent about the importance of education and voting. I read Cane River first and they were both eye opening and dramatic reads.

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Red river

This book was part of an assignment for a college History course and I enjoyed reading it so much, I wanted it as an audible. It made me feel for so many of the characters-agony, sorrow, anger and disgust. And the fact that these aren't just made up characters but a piece of history-terrifying!