Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Red River

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Red River

by Lalita Tademy

Red River by Lalita Tademy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2008, 420 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Lalita Tademy was born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents' southern roots. Nonetheless, her parents made sure their household (Louisiana West) maintained a definite non-California edge, including a steady supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and collard greens, and a stream of other transplanted southerners eager to share their "back-home" stories.

Lalita decided early that independence and self-sufficiency trumped personal amusement, and set out with dogged determination and methodical resolve to fashion a career. Twenty years later she left the corporate world having achieved the position of VP and General Manager at Sun, a Fortune 500 high technology company in Silicon Valley in order to seek our her family's past.  Her obsession with finding each root, each branch, stripping the bark and turning over every hidden leaf and stem of her family tree consumed her, until she had accumulated such powerful stories there was no choice but to write about the amazing people with whom she had made acquaintance.

The result was Cane River, a novel based on the lives of four generations of colored Creole slave women in Louisiana, from whom she is descended. Oprah Winfrey made it her summer book pick in 2001. 


Reconstruction is the term used to describe the Civil War and post-war period between 1863 and 1877. During this period the southern states returned to the US fold and, due to the Emancipation Proclamation in early 1863 and the ratification of the 13th amendment in December 1865, slavery was ended and the former slaves became freedmen, and some African Americans in some parts of the South obtained the right to vote and to hold public office.

However, in 1877 a Democratic coalition known as "Redeemers" took control and instituted the "Jim Crow" laws. These varied by state but effectively required that public places, including public schools, trains and buses, have separate facilities for whites and blacks.  These laws remained essentially in place for a century (and in fact were enhanced with additional discriminatory laws in the late 19th century) until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment and labor unions. 


Did you know?
When Lalita Tademy's great, great grandfather Sam was freed he took the name Tademy. This was the closest Americanized version of his grandfather's last name, Tatamee. According to Tademy family history, his grandfather (Lalita's great, great, great, great grandfather) was a free man who traveled from Egypt to find work but was enslaved on arriving in America.

This article was originally published in January 2007, and has been updated for the January 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...
  • Book Jacket: Long Black Veil
    Long Black Veil
    by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    "This was a long time ago, before my first death, and none of us now are the people we were then. ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Essex Serpent
    by Sarah Perry

    Costa Book Award Finalist and the Waterstones (UK) Book of the Year 2016
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.