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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,406 ratings  ·  597 reviews
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 thi ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Agate Bolden
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Leonard Pitts Afraid not, though if you're in touch with Oprah or Spielberg I wouldn't mind if you passed a copy along.

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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  3,406 ratings  ·  597 reviews

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Wilhelmina Jenkins
This book will stay in my mind and heart for a long, long time. It is, without a doubt, painful to read - the post-Civil war period was bloody and brutal, and Pitts does not hold back the level of assault on the bodies and minds of those who lived through this period. But the heart of the book is the inability of even the cruelest of institutions to crush humanity. Loyalty, persistence, passion, redemption, compassion, and above all, love and hope - these qualities persist. And healing - physica ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, southern, audible, alt, hf, race
Too often people assume that when a war ends the trouble stops, the problems are over. That is far from true. It took over a century to begin to fix the Civil Rights problem that was supposedly resolved with the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865! This book is an excellent study on what life was like for the blacks in the years following the Civil War. This book is all about how the Dixie Southerners continued to view the colored. Views did not change overnight. It is also about how the blacks ...more
This was a heavy book and I'm not referring to the weight because I read it on a Nook. I'm talking about the weight of emotion that powered through me as I read the heartbreaking things that take place. There was a particular scene where I was just bawling and I had to put my Nook down and continue reading the next day. Much good that did me because I bawled again a couple of pages later. Some other GR friends have commented that Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of Ame ...more
Elle Thornton
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I know I’m in the presence of fine writing if I find myself studying how the author achieved a passage’s clarity and rightness, its emotional weight. And I know I’m in the presence of a great story if I cry over it. I experienced both as I read Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr., a narrative of the lives of three former slaves, a Yankee woman and her adopted African-American sister at the end of the Civil War. A Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper columnist, Pitts unfolds dramatic scenes and dialogue th ...more
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If one has a grounding in African-American history, than much of this book will not be new or fresh ground. That is not to say a knowledge of African-American history is necessary to enjoy this novel, on the contrary. You will be educated and moved by the story of AAs struggling after emancipation. There are three concurrent journeys taking place in Freeman. Sam Freeman, Tilda and Prudence.

Through the story of these three, one really has to examine what is the right way to respond to sudden free
It is the end of the American civil war and slavery had just been abolished. People were jubilantly dancing in the streets of America. An era came to an end.

Although it was one of the purposes of the war to establish freedom for everyone, nobody really seemed to grasp the real meaning of the concept. Those who finally gained their freedom were the least prepared for it. For most of them slavery was bad, but peace brought much worse consequences than ever envisioned. You could say the battle was
Esther Bradley-detally
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Freeman is a must read. It is one of the strongest books on painful lives, and given the pernicious and insidious racism that exists in the United States today, given groups that are working to eradicate such attitudes, (attitudes too light a world). This book is a must for people of white skin color; not to scold, or nag, but to get inside the screaming human condition that African-Americans have dealt with for infinitude.

I am solidly and insatiably a reader, and have read volumes of incredible
Stephanie Anze
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Upon learning of the Confederacy's surrender, Sam Freeman (an former slave) decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and go find Tilda, his wife, in the war-torn south. Its been fifteen years since Sam last saw Tilda. He does not know wether she is wants to see him or even if she is still alive but he sets out on a 1000 mile journey on foot anyways. Meanwhile, Tilda, is being dragged by her former master to any place where he still is seen as a proud slaveowner. In Boston, Prudence Caffer ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Publisher summary:
Freeman 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 to find his wife, whom he has not seen in 15 years.

At the same time, a headstrong white woman of means misnamed Prudence leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi,
L.S. Childers
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
You know you become emotionally involved in a novel when a scene is so heartwrenching that you just have to close the book (or in my case, shut down my kindle), get yourself together, and pick it up a day later when you're ready to continue. I had a few of those moments while reading Freeman. The Reconstruction era in America was not the happy ending that many would have liked it to be (and I'm sure many former slaves never expected would happen anyway) and it is described in vivid detail in thi ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adultfiction, history
This is the longest book I have ever read. Well, not really, but it certainly felt like the longest book I have ever read. There are a lot of slave narratives out there with characters that pop out of the page, and the story is told so masterfully that the true horrors of slavery haunt the reader all the way down to their bones. This is not one of those books. In Freeman adorable children and one of the main characters die horribly, and this is only after one of the other protagonists loses his ...more
Kelsey Burnette
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you do nothing else this year, you must read this book. Should be required reading for all Americans, especially those who continue to insist that the Civil War was about "states' rights" not slavery. As my husband always responds, "Yeah, states' rights to own slaves." Pitts does an exceptional job of recreating the "end" of the Civil War, making it so clear that the war was far from won and that the battle against those who have the belief in white superiority and a natural, God-given world ...more
Sarah Weathersby
I loved this book.

What do you do when you learn you are free for the first time in your life? The Civil War has ended and Leonard Pitts' cast of characters find themselves in different circumstances. For Sam it means leaving the safety of Philadelphia where he as lived several years as a Freeman, educated, and with a job, to set out for Mississippi to find his wife whom he hasn't seen in fifteen years.

For Ben it means finding his wife and daughter. Other nameless people wander through the story
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

I bought this book from Amazon because I read Leonard Pitts' columns religiously. On a so-called average day, he's always good. On his best days, and he has quite a lot of them, he knocks it out of the park. Unfortunately, all too many of his best writing has been brought on by the most painful events in this country's recent history, such as the massacre at Newtown.

I wanted to see what he'd do with a novel.

Some things are the same. Freeman is also about a
So glad I decided to read this book after seeing it on display for Black History month and I feel enlightened, empowered and saddened after reading which is definitely the mark of a great book as I know it will stick with me forever..This is at the heart an agonizing love story for the ages of the depth of love and the real meaning of Corinithians verse that speaks of Love never failing,I gained such an appreciation for what it means to lose someone you love and what you would do to get them bac ...more
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:8

I hate love stories. I loathe the unrealistic betrayal of a fantasy type whimsical tale of the perfect love affair, that results in the standard “happily ever after” conclusion. I was hesitant to read this book as a result of the implications of a love story included within the description of the novel, but decided to purchase it due to the inclusion of the historical accounts of the post antebellum era in America, which I enjoy reading. Boy was I wrong. Thi
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Leonard Pitts creates an amazing journey of three souls in the post-Civil War south. This is the heartbreaking story of what happens shortly after the emancipation of the slaves in 1865. Sam, a runaway slave travels 1000 miles looking for the woman he left behind when he escaped. Prudence (ironically named due to her rash decisions and explosive temper), travels south to open a school for the newly freed colored with her a colored girl that was raised as her sister. Tilda, Sam's forlorn wife, st ...more
Well-written historical fiction in the period right after the abolishment of slavery and the assassination of President Lincoln. Very hard to read at times for its graphic depiction of man's inhumanity to man, but I persevered -- glad I did. The characters of Ben and Prudence, and others, were not stereotypical in any fashion. Pitts did use some stereotypical characters I believe for economy of language. There were many strong characters and Sam's journey provided a great setting. The title says ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Gripping. Heart-wrenching. Will leave you with thoughts of this time in our nation's history long after the final page is turned.

Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unequivocally, Incredible!
Harrowing and beautifully written--one of those books where you know you're hearing from a writer who not only has a vast vocabulary, but knows how to arrange it decoratively on a page.

Sam is a slave who falls in love and marries another slave: Tilda. Their slave master teaches Tilda to read, Tilda teaches Sam, and this popular Bible verse becomes their couple 'thing': "Love is long suffering; it aboundeth in kindness." The verse sort of explains most of the book actually. But when Sam tries to
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Freeman is a superb novel of post-Civil War. There are many wonderful and unforgettable characters in the book. It is truly a splendid read.

Sam Freeman, a runaway slave who once fought in the union army has decided to leave his safety in Philadelphia and head out on foot towards the war torn South in search of his wife, Tilda. Sam and his son, Luke, had left Tilda behind some 15 years ago to charge towards freedom. Not getting very far, Sam and Luke were captured; only to have Luke try to run of
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There's a plethora of novels that take place during the Civil War but there are few that take place right after it ended. For that reason, I'm glad that I read "Freeman" by Leonard Pitts, Jr. His column in the Miami Herald is syndicated in many newspapers including The Chicago Tribune so I am familiar with his perceptive, articulate writing. When I saw his book, I was eager to read it.

The story begins the day after the Civil War ends. Sam, a free man living in Philadelphia, hasn't seen his wife
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
FREEMAN is a fantastic book. Readers will highly empathize with the well developed characters. History buffs fascinated by the Civil War time period will be enthralled. Those who take great interest in this nation's troublesome history of race relations will be deeply drawn in, and on numerous occasions will shake their head at the realization that centuries old truths stubbornly remain valid to this day. Those in eternal search for bittersweet love stories should immediately add Freeman to thei ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Freeman by Leonard Pitts

Merged review:

Leonard Pitts Jr. used wonderful insight telling the story in the novel, “Freeman."

The war between the Union and Confederacy is over, but hate rages like wild fires burning Buford, Mississippi at its roots.

Now free after fighting in the war, Sam Freeman, the protagonist, is obsessed with the need to find his wife, Tilda. He has not seen her for 15 years and strikes out on a journey to find her. His love and search for Tilda is one of the driving forces in the novel; the love, d
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
FREEMAN is the story of the south following the end of the Civil War. Mr. Lenard Pitts does an extradinary job of capturing feelings, motives,actions, and emotions of both ex slaves and ex slave owners during this period. The story centers on the character, Sam (an ex slave), who is in search of his wife (also a slave)whom he has not seen in 15 years.
This book was an incredibly insightful journey for me. Yes, it was extreemely painful at times, but it was also so uplifting to experience the iron
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
An informative and deeply disturbing book. It was all about post Civil War and how the newly free slaves had to deal with their new freedom in the hostile South . They faced all types of obstacles: their "ex-masters" angry about the war and rebels upset about the "change." They had no money, no land and most of them could not read or write. They were treated less than humane before and after the war

The suffering in this novel was unbearable. Thank goodness I wasn't living 147 years ago. We shou
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING STORY. Leonard Pitts, Jr is a gem!
Dana Obuch
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely outstanding literature. When you finish the last page, close the book, then close your eyes and let a sob/sigh know it's good.
Lauren Cecile
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best historical novels about this time period ever! Loved!
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Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Freeman 170 182 Nov 12, 2012 12:11PM  

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Leonard Pitts Jr. was born and raised in Southern California. He is a columnist for the Miami Herald and won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1992. In 1997, Pitts took first place for commentary in division four (newspapers with a circulation of more than 300,000) in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' Ninth Annual Writing Award ...more

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