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Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River brings us the evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage.

Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his 10th birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money - but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward?

Cow Tom's legacy lives on - especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose. She rises to leadership of the family as they struggle against political and societal hostility intent on keeping blacks and Indians oppressed. But through it all, her grandfather's indelible mark of courage inspires her - in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.

Written in two parts portraying the parallel lives of Cow Tom and Rose, Citizens Creek is a beautifully rendered novel that takes the listener deep into a little known chapter of American history. It is a breathtaking tale of identity, community, family - and above all, the power of an individual's will to make a difference.

©2014 Lalita Tademy (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"JD Jackson, telling Tom's story, and Bahni Turpin, relating Rose's, both deliver exquisite performances that immerse the listener in the characters. Jackson's careful diction adds emotional power to his portrayal of Cow Tom. Turpin paces Rose's story in a way that highlights the struggles and triumphs of an amazing, resilient family." ( AudioFile)

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  • Overall
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  • Denyse
  • 11-01-16

Who Knew Native Americans Owned Slaves?

If you could sum up Citizens Creek in three words, what would they be?

Important Captivating Eye-opening

What other book might you compare Citizens Creek to and why?

I have read all three of Latilda Tademy's novels and recommend each highly. They are a unique offering in the sense that the author researched her family and the characters are based on real people who survived and thrived through slavery and Jim Crow America.

So, no comparison comes to mind.

What about Bahni Turpin and J. D. Jackson ’s performance did you like?

Both did an excellent job of portraying Cow Tom and his granddaughter.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Found it difficult to stop listening. The histories are too long for one sitting. Too much to digest -- too much territory covered.

Any additional comments?

Citizens Creek is Tademy's third novel. She spends up to three years researching the period, her subjects, their dialect, customs. The characters of Citizens Creek are real people who lived during slavery and in the period leading up to the Civil War, Emancipation, and the early 1900s. The novel begins with Cow Tom, born a slave in 1810, owned previously by a Southern Plantation owner, and then the Creek nation, separated from his mother at a young age. He ultimately "bought" his freedom and emerged as the first Black Chief of the Creek Nation due to his considerable leadership skills and linguistic gifts. His mother advised he was special and would do great things; he in turned said as much to his granddaughter Rose. They were both propelled to live up to their legacies.

I found this a beautifully told, fascinating story. I was introduced to an episode of American History I knew little about -- that Indian tribes owned slaves, the horror of the treatment of the Indians at the hand of the US military and government, the very tough lives they and their slaves endured.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Vicki
  • 08-12-16

One of the most beautiful books I've ever read

I love historical fiction and Lalita Tademy truly is a master of her art. It's beautifully written and she created characters that I wanted to meet and spend time with....all of them. It's a wonderful vehicle for telling a bit of this period in history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Reeda
  • 17-09-16

Not as good as I thought it would be

I love Lalita Tademy's previous novels. This one however was long and drawn out. There were little tiny sparks of hope when the story would pick up the pace and then it would turn back into same song different verse times 100. 15 hours honestly felt like 1,000 with this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 21-04-15

It was a very deep and informative book.

Yes, this book met my expectations. I knew little of the complexity of the Black and Indian struggle. don’t think the writing style took anything away from Lalita Tademy made Cow Tom’s story have the weight needed to explain the beginnings and the desire to strive ahead and succeed against all odds. The fact that he knew so many languages and was such a caring person brought value to me. Lalita really had me at the edge of my chair after Rose’s story began, maybe because I like history from a woman’s perspective – the book really came alive in Part 2 and 3.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah m. lamb
  • 05-08-18

I loved Cane River this was such a disappointment

the story was a very boring the names were very weird I couldn't even get into it I've tried four or five times and it is literally the worst book I've ever listened to very disappointing because I know this author can write much better than this. Cane River is one of the best books ever written and this one's clear at the other end of the spectrum

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  • Patricia Brown
  • 17-06-18

Enthralling!

I couldn't put it down! A beautiful story with the wonderful ending with the author!

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  • Ekua
  • 23-02-18

A must read!

Rose and family are remarkable. Get to know them. Enjoy their strength and determination to survive and prosper.

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  • Christopher S. Doyle
  • 03-06-17

Outstanding storytelling!

An epic generational tale of determination, struggle, strength and family. Cow Tom and Rose's stories resonated with me and I'm so glad to know them. I expected a rousing western and got so much more - insight into a society and people I knew very little about. Bravo!

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  • WALL
  • 14-01-17

great story and narration!

Loved it! I highly recommend this book. Awsome story, stayed up late 'cause I had to keep going!

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  • John
  • 13-05-15

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful