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The Foxes of Harrow

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Fiery passion and ambition in the old South. The Greatest triumph of a magnificent storyteller.
Mass Market Paperback, New Dell Edition, 475 pages
Published December 1972 by Dell (first published 1946)
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Irene Schneider
Five stars? I stand by it. This book, published in 1946, seven years after GONE WITH THE WIND, is the superior Civil War novel. Both are page-turners, and both merit the usual flap-copy adjectives about epic works-- sweeping, panoramic, multi-generational. But a white woman wrote GONE WITH THE WIND, and her Southern men are presented as heroes, and slavery is largely accepted as a system of patronage. THE FOXES OF HARROW was written by a black man, and the men in it-- Northern, Southern, black, ...more
I just finished a re-read of this book. I read it for the first time more than 25 years ago. A friend happened upon a reference to it in another book and that prompted her to read it for the first time and for me to do a re-read.
My first read was my mother's copy so very long ago. I was fascinated by the book and characters. I still felt the pull of this book so many years later and I glad that I paid it another visit.
I found this book (copyright 1946) in my deceased mother-in-law's library at my mother's home. The pages yellowed and jacket worn, it looked as though it had been read multiple times. When I took it to read, I asked my mother if she had read it and she told me that her mother had read it years ago and considered it "risque". Needless to say, this simple comment aroused my interest in the book!

The novel begins in 1825, Pre-civil War Louisiana, when the young Irishman, Stephen Fox, arrives in New
Nov 27, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone living around racial tension
A captivating read on the culture of New Orleans both before and during the civil war. It really opened up my eyes to how things must have been then. As far as sanitation goes, they had just open ditch sewers that caused massive plagues yearly during the hottest part of the summer. Amazing that the authorities never took action. I really like Frank Yerby's work in that he really immerses you in culture, while you're captivated by his main character. Ha, also occassionally you'll have his charact ...more
I just re-read this book for the 5th time just to see if age had changed my perspective at all on Yerby's writing. I was delighted to find that it hadn't. While i was always annoyed by his huge, run-on sentences (and still am) and his at-times flowery descriptions (still there), this is still a great story after all these years. Reading out of my mother's book (printed circa 1948) gave me even more pleasure, since this was one of her favorites too. What is even more amazing was to "google" Frank ...more
Susie James
When I was growing up, I noticed that Mama's sister, Nancy, generally speaking, read more risque novels than Mama did. Aunt Nancy liked Frank Yerby's works, and I noticed "The Foxes of Harrow" in particular; read it; really thought it was very interesting and atmospheric. Years later I read more about Yerby -- and was saddened at the thought of the hatred of whites he seemed to keep within. Today, I dug up an old hardback copy of "The Foxes of Harrow" and plan to do some comparison reading (the ...more

Loved the characters, all of them, and loved the action but I wish historical fiction writers would realize in real life people do not stand around accurately speculating about the next 100 years all the time!

We cover a LOT of ground here, from the 1820’s to the 1860’s, all of it in and around New Orleans, in its beautiful, dazzlingly, richly done up squalor. It was a fascinating tale, rounding out a lot of the stuff that got left out of Gone With the Wind, but I’m still positive I’d never want
Shelby P
I'd never heard of Frank Yerby until I read Knight of Ocean Avenue. So I googled him and found out some interesting information about him then decided to read his most popular work and voila!

This book is long and very detailed. It was an interesting read and I'm glad I read it. The story does become a bit rushed towards the latter part of the book and I didn't care for the parts that focused on the war.

Etienne Fox was one character I was rooting would die in the book. He was so mean. Makes me g
Genine Franklin-Clark

I read my first book by Frank Yerby (left behind by previous renters) the summer I was 15. 15 year old girl, of course I fell in love and went on to read every book he wrote. As with Deliverence, I would never reread any of Yerby's books; they were too extraordinary a reading experience for me then that I won't risk spoiling it now. Memories: good.
Jacob 02
Loved it. A great historically informative tale of extremes - of poverty and extreme fortune, freedom and human slavery, love, love, more love and war. I fell in love with some of the characters, the women were heroic and amazing, and some (of the characters) were unbearable, but made for an exciting read.
My mother had this book stashed away in her bedside table. She told me it was too "risque" for me to read. I didn't even know what risque meant but once I started sneaking it and reading it I figured it out. Whew! I had to read as many Frank Yerby books as I could after that.
My Grandmotherr gave me my first Frank Yerby novel in 1958. I have loved all his books that I have read.
He is tops in the OLD South day and slavery. A black man himself he wrote honestly. Sadly he is gone now. I recommend all his books.
A poor riverboat gambler wins a plantation, marries the most beautiful woman in the county, and is happy until he sees the quadroon Desiree.
Foxes of Harrow was an interesting book, especially when the date it was written is taken into account (1946). It is the story of Stephen Fox, an gambling Irishman who makes his home near New Orleans in the early 1800's. Many interesting historical events are part of the story (the yellow fever epidemic of New Orleans, slavery, and the Civil War). The book described New Orleans as a fun-loving party town where sanitary conditions were disregarded, leading to much disease and subsequent deaths in ...more
JoAnne Pulcino


Frank Yerby

A wonderful old sage in the tradition of GONE WITH THE WIND.
Maybe a 3.5. The trouble with this book was that it was so inconsistent. The writing was beautiful at times, while the plot was like a soap opera and some of the characters weren't believable. I liked reading about this Southern family through several generations and it was interesting to read about the Civil War from a New Orleans perspective. It's hard to find copies of this book (written in 1946) but it's worth searching out.
Austen to Zafón
WHY IT'S ON MY TO-READ: First best seller by an African American. Considered risqué at the time (1946). Unlike Gone With The Wind, apparently a truer representation of the slavery, racial and gender inequality, and raucousness of the Antibellum South. Ultimately, the book became a 1947 Oscar-nominated film of the same name starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O'Hara.
Nathan C.
Superb writing and storytelling. The reason I don't recommend it is because in order to really get the feel of the era the way the book would present it, you need to sympathize with the haughty, desperate, lecherous and wildly ambitious plantation owners in their passions; truth, humility, and love are virtues seen only in retrospect, not guiding powers.
Sep 30, 2011 Amelia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Yes, yes, my mom picked this out for me because it had the word "fox" in it. I love foxes, but figured this would have nothing to do with animals. ;) I figured I wasn't going to read it, but then I found out the book didn't do too bad - it's the first best-seller from an African-American. I'll give it a shot!
I read this book ,either from my Mother's library or the Public Library....I read all of his books( that I could find), about romance and struggle in the old South ,that I could get my hands on. Many years later I discovered he was a black man. I would like to re read one today and see what I think.
Maria Lm
Highly recommended and so hard to get! Reminds me a bit of "Gone With The Wind" (Irishman acquired land by gambling, married aristocrat Frenchie) though it certainly lacks its magic. A very good read if historical romance is your thing. Found it extremely hard to put down!
Ian Huezo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My mother owned a copy of this book and I read it as a teen. I loved "Gone With the Wind" and this was another title about a southern plantation.
Spencer Whetstone
I read this in a college course on novels. I remember enjoying it and finding out it was a best selling main stream novel by a black author.
Interesting story about New Orleans before and during the Civil War. It was a bit sensual at times, but at least not explicit.
Read this as a teenager, so probably blushed quite a bit, but found the Civil War descriptions fascinating
Diane Madison
I read all of Mr. Yerby's books when I was a teenager and am now re-reading them. Love his books!
Judith Wrinkle
Read this along with many other Yerby Books, years ago.
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Born in Augusta, Georgia to Rufus Garvin Yerby, an African American, and Wilhelmina Smythe, who was caucasian. He graduated from Haines Normal Institute in Augusta and graduated from Paine College in 1937. Thereafter, Yerby enrolled in Fisk University where he received his Master's degree in 1938. In 1939, Yerby entered the University of Chicago to work toward his doctorate but later left the univ ...more
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