Read Red River by Lalita Tademy Online


From the New York Times bestselling author of Cane River comes the dramatic, intertwining story of two families and their struggles during the tumultuous years that followed the Civil War....

Title : Red River
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780446578981
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 420 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Red River Reviews

  • Syd
    2019-03-30 18:04

    This is a fictional account of the Colfax Massacre backed up with a lot of history and real historical documents. I was already familiar with the Colfax Massacre, but it wasn't called that by a character until 200 pages in. A really good example of how white people twist history until the truth almost disappears. I thank Tademy for taking on this subject and shedding truth on a very dark day in Louisiana history.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-26 21:53

    Necessary but not sure about the score.I guess I'll give this book a 3. I'm really on the fence about what I feel about this book. The author Lalita Tademy has painstakingly researched her family history on both sides, maternal and paternal. Even though one can find a lot of records, historical items and learn through stories passed down, some parts of the genealogy puzzle due to the passing of time are doomed to forever be a mystery. Lalita is brilliant with the idea of taking those true pieces and weaving a historical fiction account of what could have happened in her family and the town they lived in. She has done this with Cane River (her maternal side and first book) and now with Red River (her paternal side and second book). Both books take the reading traveler back to slavery and come forward closer to modern times. There are maps and photos throughout. This makes for an interesting experience, being able to see pictures of real live people mentioned in the book. I have to give the author much credit for her research and for her efforts. She is telling little known stories and information about the African American experience historically that not many others are telling. It is necessary to hear. For this reason I commend her greatly. It's a point of view through the eyes of people that were really there. It is something that should be told. I felt for her ancestors plight because for all I know, it could be similar to my people who come before me. A lot of it was sad, bitter and heart wrenching, but so is real life. If it does not kill you it makes you stronger. The Tademys did just that. This the story of a town and the strong Black families that in the face of racism did not allow hate to kill their drive for better. Now, to the facts that prohibit a higher score. I give these with a heavy sigh. Like a teacher who must give a good student a bad grade because in truth the work was not up to par.... Here we go. This book was a slow starter. I felt as if I went for an extremely long time trying to get warmed up. I kept reading because I wanted to read this book but I can see how one not as determined may put it down. The first more than half of the book droned on in excruciating detail about this "riot/massacre". Although, yes I believe it's a not well known piece of history that deserves to be told it could have been cut down by half. Once the saga moved on there were some day to day things that were uninteresting. I skimmed a lot. I felt like this saga droned on for so long that I was just ready to finish this book. I started counting how many pages I had left to finish. Toward the end strangely it gained a little steam again. Just as I became interested in this new generation of family characters.. The book finished. When I think about it, this is the same feeling that I had about her first book. It's like she wears herself out with the detail and overwriting through more than half of the book, skips through toward the end, gets a second wind and then someone yells "time" at 400 some pages and it can end. Way too many pages. I could have done with less overwriting of the war scenes in the first half, a climax and more detail on the characters that I don't feel got their time in the spotlight toward the end. For those reasons, this doesn't get anything close to perfect. Yes I recommend it for the history. I want to read more books by this author but I'm almost afraid to get hit with this same dragging formula again. Next book please.

  • Debby
    2019-03-30 19:45

    I'd have to say that Red River (along with Lalita Tademy's first book Cane River) is historical fiction at it's finest! Tademy interweaves her own family history with fiction and well-researched facts in order to tell the story of what is commonly known in the post-Civil War Reconstruction history as the Colfax Riot of 1873. But, to some people in Colfax, Louisiana, on Easter Sunday April 13, 1873, it was known as the Colfax Massacre of 1873. Over 100 black men died that day, either shot, mutilated, or hanged at the hands of white supremacists who were bloodthirsty and hell bent on keeping white rule firmly in place in Colfax and in the South, as well. Tademy takes the events of the massacre and weaves it together with the generational history of two black men, Sam Tademy and Israel Smith, and their families. The book chronicles their lives before, during and after the events of that Easter Sunday. Both men and both families are forever changed in different ways and the casualties and the efforts for change are seen in their offspring and in the nation well into the 20th century. This is a very emotionally gripping book; at times almost too painful to read. In this book, as well as in Can River, Lalita Tademy makes the body, soul and spirit experience of slavery and the fight to live free as a race and as human being so very real. I have to say this is the first historical fiction book I've ever read that has inspired me to do more in-depth research of the event portrayed in the novel. I am currently waiting on a copy of the book The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, The Supreme Court and The Betrayal of Reconstruction by Charles Lane from the library. No other book about an historical event has ever captivated me to this level. That says a great deal about Lalalita Takemy's writing and the deep impact this book has had on me personally. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially those who seek to learn from the events of our national history and seek through self-examination and a changed heart, not to repeat them in any manner, great or small.

  • Jodi
    2019-03-24 23:07

    Well, this book stopped my reading. I tried and tried to get into it and then I just stopped reading with the constant idea that I'd get back to it, but instead it just lays on my nightstand looking at me. I always hate giving up on a book, but since I'm avoiding it, I'm not reading anything, so I'm avoiding all of my other books, too, which I hate! So, I'm putting it back in my stack to see if I can try it again someday. I really hate quitting books, but this book was not a "Cane River" for me (the author's other book).

  • gaudeo
    2019-04-16 16:09

    This is a fantastic novel about the so-called Colfax Riot in Colfax, Louisiana, in 1873, and its aftermath and legacy. Tademy writes so well of African Americans' doomed mission to uphold the offices of duly elected officials during Reconstruction, showing just exactly how and why Reconstruction failed and how the Ku Klux Klan rose to such power. The first half of the book, which depicts the siege of the Colfax courthouse, is indelibly fixed in my mind. I enjoyed Tademy's first novel, Cane River, very much; it explored and re-created events that her mother's side of the family experienced. This book, which explores her father's side, is even more powerful. I don't exaggerate when I say that this is one of the most moving books I've ever read.

  • Sally
    2019-03-31 17:03

    This is Lalita Tademy's second novel, based on her father's side of her family tree. This gut-wrenching novel focuses on what has been referred to as the "Colfax Riot" of 1873 -- but which was really a massacre of 150 black freedmen, during the period of Reconstruction in Louisiana. The attack followed a period of intense conflict between Democrats and Republicans for the Louisiana Governor's office, in which both candidates claimed victory. Prepare yourself for the horrific violence that met the black community who lived in the Red River area of Louisiana. The violence depicted in this novel is painful, but will help you understand the personal legacy of slavery and the white supremacy backlash to Reconstruction in the South.

  • Lauren Cecile
    2019-04-04 18:50

    Interesting, but not as good as Cane River.

  • Nitya Sivasubramanian
    2019-04-10 16:06

    Since it is now a widely accepted fact that history is written by the winners, I wasn't surprised to learn that an incident named "The Colfax Riot" could actually have been more accurately termed a massacre. The few facts I managed to retain from the incredibly long-winded description of events shows quite clearly that the event was a bloody and shameful example of racial sentiments in the Deep South immediately after the Civil War.So I'm a little sorry I couldn't bring myself to care much. When the action in the book begins, I hadn't had enough time to empathize with the characters involved, and even had a little trouble keeping them straight as they raced around the besieged courthouse. Then, by the time I knew enough about them to care about their fate, they were just pages from passing the baton to the next generation.In truth, there are two books here. One is the story of the events in Colfax and the other is the history of the Tademy family. Personally, I found the Colfax part tiresome, though I did need to know about it to understand the rest of the story, and the Tademy section too short. The author's true gift is in bringing to life families, warts and all. But there just wasn't enough of that in this book.

  • Jill
    2019-03-24 16:47

    This is a beautiful book telling the story of a family whose ancestors participated in a social stand for the right for African-Americans to vote, during reconstruction. It is rich in the telling and in the descriptive prose. The Tademy family sprang to life, generation after generation and proudly recounted the story of their lineage from Egypt to Louisiana. Along the way I met the other friends of that family and learned of the necessary tight bonding of this group who lived, worked and died in The Bottom. I thought that the beginning was too long but the understood that because of the importance of the main event, this might have been necessary to convey the horror of what took place in that tumultous time. And to know that to this day, the details of the Colfax "riot" are skewed, is very disappointing. It is a good book to read today in this climate of racial tension to further illuminate the feelings that are always laid bare. Finally, this book is a story of success; of maturity and education and family ties!

  • Christine
    2019-03-27 23:51

    A riot in a small Louisiana town has forever intertwined two southern families, struggling to subsist and prosper in a country wrought by Civil War. Reconstruction has been won for the newly freed black, but the whites in Colfax are not going to make it easy for them to take their proper place in society. Red River follows through three generations of African Americans and their struggle in the aftermath of the terrible wreckage, yet through adversity we often find our strength as families find out what they are truly made of and beat the odds.This is a chronicle of endurance that is both redolent and gripping, telling the saga of one of the deadliest accounts of racial cruelty in Southern history. The words leap off the page and beg to be read! Well Done!

  • Mocha Girl
    2019-04-06 23:55

    Bestselling author, Lalita Tademy, returns to a familiar subject in her family history and sheds light on a dark incident during the Reconstruction period in the antebellum South. Her latest novel, Red River, focuses on the atrocities that occurred April 13, 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana. Many of those affected were ex-slaves who were the overwhelming majority in an area nestled among former plantations and rich farmland. After a lifetime of servitude, these newly freed men exercised their right to vote and ousted the long seated bigoted Democratic county sheriff and judge. They embraced their recently bestowed voting rights and elected residents who either sympathized with their plight (scalawags) or those who had recently located to the area from the North (carpetbaggers) after the Civil War. The election results did not sit well with local white supremacists who chose not to recognize the newly elected officials. When their calls to the governor to uphold the election results went unanswered, the freedmen stood up for their rights only to be shot down at the Colfax courthouse waiting for federal assistance that never came. The end result was the death of three white men and a mass murder of over a hundred African Americans, most of whom were lynched after they had surrendered. No one has ever been held accountable for their deaths. Despite the carnage and the encroaching epoch of Jim Crow, Tademy illustrates that her family's dream did not perish that day. Their vision, determination, and resourcefulness to educate the area's Negro children held fast despite the violent threats and racial hostility. Their family values for education, self-reliance, and self-respect were instilled in each generation and survives in modern day. She celebrates their lives, loves, and births and mourns their losses, sacrifices, and deaths. Readers will admire the family's love, commitment to each other, and loyalty to friends that sustained them through the good and bad times. The essence of the story is Tademy's ability to conjure authentic images and scenarios using her naturally candid approach to storytelling. She gains reader empathy by opening the novel with the reflections of Polly, her spunky, paternal great-great-grandmother, reminiscing about the event. The author aptly weaves a tenable tale of her family's involvement during that fateful juncture - fathers, sons, and friends were wounded, maimed, and others died defending their rights, beliefs, and dignity. The novel, bolstered by credible artifacts and sources, chronicles the events leading up to, during, and the aftermath of the massacre. As in Cane River, the author softens the facts with a personal touch - actual photos of her family who are the novel's key characters. Although, I did not find this offering as instantly engaging as the previous novel; it is still nonetheless a wonderful tribute to the Tademy family. More importantly, I appreciate its value as an educational instrument for this seemingly forgotten incident in American history. Admittedly, I had never heard of the Colfax Massacre prior to reading this book and was surprised that very little has been published about such a major travesty. For this alone, I say - Well Done!

  • Melissa
    2019-03-22 20:46

    This book was a bit of a disappointment. I seriously considered ditching it around page 100. The first half of the 400 page book describes a horrible massacre in the town of Colfax, Louisiana. In 1873, blacks are allowed to vote for the first time and they vote in the Republican party--who, I gather from the text (my AP American History Class too distant in the past to be of much help) are sympathetic to the newly free black population. The incumbent government refuses to shift power, and when blacks protest at the town's courthouse, white supremacists blast them out, killing 150 men. Now, I'm not denying that this is an important story that should be told. But this section of the book could (and should) have been cut to 100 pages.The second half follows the next 2 generations of the Tademy and Smith families, both who played an important part in the courthouse standoff. (The author used her own family's history as a source for the story, so it is based on actual people and events.) This part was a much better read, although I still didn't think the book was exceptional. I assume from the accolades that Tademy's first book, Cane River, was better than this one. Which leads me to believe that my friend is on to something when she says most people only have one good book in them.

  • Heather
    2019-04-10 16:45

    The only thing worse than an an epic that keeps skipping forward, and skipping how everything happened!I really liked the first half of the book, because it focused on one really interesting historical event (a battle in which former slaves were trying to protect their newly earned rights, including the right to vote - which apparently they had right after slavery and then it was repealed again, very good info - and to have their party in office; they were cruely massacred by white supremacists), and managed to build some suspense. It was a great piece of history to learn about.Then, in the second section, aptly entitled, "After," she just keeps skipping ahead to random moments in order to cover the entire rest of her family history. It was a lot like how Katniss kept passing out in Mockingjay...only the rest of the book wasn't as good in the first place.I'm still glad that I read this and Cane River b/c they are grounded in an important piece of history that I didn't know enough about, but she just is not the best writer. My recommendation would be to see if there are better books that cover the same topics.

  • Roberta
    2019-04-02 17:46

    I haven't yet read Cane River (which many reviewers here seem to like better than Red River), but I found Red River extremely engrossing and I love that it was based on a real incident (of which I had never heard). Also that the author tried to tell the Colfax Massacre and family story as accurately as possible is really important to me. When dealing with historical events, I get pretty annoyed at author's that do much "tinkering" with facts that are pretty much known.The story was compelling and the writing was gentle, literary and touching. I really enjoyed it. At times it moved pretty slowly. I particularly had trouble staying with it in the beginning: I was listening to the CD (and reader was very good) but the tone and pace made it too easy for me to drift off into other thoughts until I got more involved personally in the story.I'm looking forward to Cane River. I think this book is important both for its writing as well as for what it tells us and how it keeps this part of America's past is our awareness when it belongs.

  • Marcia
    2019-04-20 00:08

    Whenever I see a sparsely worded historical marker, I wonder what really happened on that spot. How can so few words adequately portray what took place? Tademy takes us into the heart and horror of the Colfax Riot of April 1873, relating through Sam Tademy and Israel Smith the details of that day—details to which no Louisiana courthouse lawn marker could ever do justice. This retelling of the courage, love and lasting legacy of these families held me captive beginning with the 100-year-old Polly’s narrative in the Prologue: Come closer. This is not a story to go down easy, and the backwash still got hold of us today.As you will find in the Author’s Notes, the marker on the Louisiana courthouse lawn reads: On this site occurred the Colfax Riot in which three white men and 150 Negroes were slain. This event on April 13, 1873 marked the end of the carpetbag misrule in the South.Yes, words matter, and this sparse marker definitely does not tell the story.

  • Pam
    2019-04-10 18:08

    I almost didn't finish this BOOK...and that would have been a first because I love to read.The Colfax Massacre made me really sad_which encompassed the first half of this book.It was so violent and vicious what African-American Men,Women & children endured from the White citizens of Colfax that it was unimaginable_although based on actual events.I am proud the folks that survived were able to carry on afterwards_building families and traditions that still exist today through Lalita Tademy story.The second half continued her ancestors life stories_but the pain from the first half precluded me from really getting into these chapters.I'm glad to finish it!I truly admire African-Americans from those times,as they endured such hardship because of their color.Although,racism still exist in America_I don't think it is to the degree those fine people experienced back then.And,I'm even more thankful that I was not born during those times.

  • Annette
    2019-04-01 17:51

    I really wanted to like this book. I had read her previous book Cane River and loved it. Both are based loosely on her family history in Louisiana. But this book was somewhat uneven and dragged in spots (because of detail which got in the way of the story). The story picks up with part of her family in the Red River area of Louisiana during the reconstruction era after the Civil War when blacks "colored folks" had the vote in the South (for a short period of time) and had begun to buy land and develop businesses. The story follows the rise of White Supremacy in the south and the gradual erosion of hard earned rights by blacks. The focus of the first half of the book is the Easter Sunday massacre of 1873 (or the Easter Sunday its described in the South) where 150 black men and 3 whites were killed. AGain...the history here is interesting and illuminating and the characters are well drawn but the storyline drags and doesn't live up to its promise.

  • J
    2019-04-07 16:54

    (FROM JACKET)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" bestseller "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....

  • Ann
    2019-04-14 21:56

    I am glad I read Red River. It was hard to read and yet very compelling and important to read about what happened so many years ago in 1873 in Colfax LA. This story is the result of Lalita Tademy's continued personal genealogy research, now on her Father's side. She had to dig deep to research the real story of the Colfax "riot" from the hidden perspective of the more than one hundred-fifty African American people killed in the massacre. In the process she was able to learn about some of her more elusive relatives. The reader reads about some of the most shameful aspects of human nature and of our reconstruction period, but more than that, we learn of love stories and strength of character, and of the human spirit, and of a strong family and group of people who overcame much while retaining their dignity and sense of self and purpose.

  • Sherrel Wiser
    2019-03-24 17:11

    This was an awesome book on several levels:1st it was interesting to read as a historical novel of life in the south during reconstruction time. I have always thought history lessons were too barren about the details of life during this time period after the civil war.2nd what a treasure for family history. I learned to care about each of the Tademy and Smith ancestors3rd This book was the new Roots of Americana. I hope it is made into a movie someday. I'll be on the front row. Of course, I also loved Cane River, Lalita Tademy prior novel. Glad both books made it on Oprah's Book Club.

  • Elba Parr
    2019-04-10 17:50

    Enjoyed the book, but not as much as Cane River. Have also read Chiaverini;s Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and am now reading Julia Grant and Madame Jule by the same author. Both are historical fiction based on Civil War events.

  • LizC
    2019-03-23 23:12

    I'm in the same boat as a lot of other reviewer's. I had read cane River and loved it. I thought it would love this one too. It was interesting in that I learned a lot about the Colfax massacre. I didn't know anything about it. And I always think it's interesting when people go back and research their ancestors. However, the story did not really grab me - there seem to not be any thing to it except a list of daily events. That is, after the massacre scene. I read some reviews that said that the massacre portion dragged on forever. I agree with that as well. Interesting event, and interesting research. Great photos. But not a very enthralling book.

  • Alethea White-Previs
    2019-03-28 17:53

    It's bee a long time since I read Tademy's first family-inspired novel, CANE RIVER. I seem to recall that one being an incredibly moving story of brave people triumphing over the horrors of slavery. Very powerful stuff. Tademy tries again for a tour-de-force with RED RIVER, but about halfway through, the story loses its oomph. The Colfax Massacre is, of course, a horrible event, sickening in the retelling, but after the initial punch of that has worn off, Tademy loses the reader in a family tree with seemingly endless branches, as well as a plodding series of confrontations. The conclusion just seemed to ... occur. All in all, disappointing.

  • Betty Silvia
    2019-04-18 15:57

    This historical novel was just as gripping as the first novel by Lalita Tademy - showing both the cruelty and humanity of a small community of Colfax, Louisiana. I am upset to learn how corrupt the civil war reconstruction really was and how very deep-seated the racial divide remained long after the war was over. White supremacy and Klu Klux Klan terrorized anyone they felt like, for very little provocation. It makes me very sad.

  • Mrs. Ellis
    2019-04-11 21:47

    A powerful but painful journey through a family's history and struggles in the deep south. This powerful books is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still need to go in regards to discrimination and acceptance of people. I enjoyed the various voices within the book. I found the characters to realistic because both their strengths and weakness were evident. I think the author did a beautiful job of retelling her family history in a meaningful way. This is worth the read.

  • Robert
    2019-04-22 00:06

    This may be the best book I have ever read plain and simple. It does make me think what a white, open minded, progressive thinking person would have been like back in the 1880-1930s in the Louisiana swamps. Many props to this book and these characters. They are still much stronger than I will ever be.

  • Amanda Skenandore
    2019-03-21 23:48

    This book touches upon a tragic and woefully overlooked time in US history. It does so with a brilliant voice and unflinching eye. Ms. Tademy has a real gift for description and nuanced characterization. I like the first half better than the second, but taken as a whole it remains a moving and important work.

  • Jill
    2019-03-25 19:49

    Historical fiction and one family's recall of the Colfax, LA racial incident. Just as Reconstruction begins, Republicans win the vote in Colfax and attempt to take their places in the community. CANNOT understand the hate, prejudice and ignorance in the racial fight that continues to exist.

  • T
    2019-04-04 21:10

    I thoroughly enjoy reading this book and following the family. The characters were so engaging and although it is fiction I think the author did an excellent job of trying to recreate incidents which happened to her family.

  • Mary Baker
    2019-04-09 18:00

    I liked this book and found it especially interesting that it is biographical fiction. I enjoyed seeing the intertwining of the four families. Mrs. Tademy is a good writer who is able to tell a good story. I'm sure others have family stories that need to be recorded for posterity.