They are men whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War, and who grappled with the contradictions of emancipation through the turbulent years of Reconstruction. Portraying the lives of the families who dwell in The Bottom, a poor settlement just down Red River from Colfax, Louisiana, Tademy begins her story with a heart-wrenching battle for the Colfax courthouse. Newly freed men are fighting for their liberties, hoping the federal government will come to their aid. As tensions rise, a massacre ensues, and proud families are left to deal with the wreckage and find the strength to push on. Drawn from both historic fact and the author's own family history, Tademy brings to life a historical human drama left untold--until now.
I actually would give this book 3.5 stars, but that isn't an option on here or on goodreads, so I rounded it up. I really enjoy reading about this family's life during such a difficult time in African American history. However, I think I preferred Cane River to Red River. I found the stories of the women more interesting than the backstories of the men's lives. That being said, if you have read and enjoyed Cane River, then I suggest checking out this book as well.
***Next read: I am now reading Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera Series #1) by Jim Butcher.