The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

By Ann Weisgarber
(Pan Books, Paperback, 9780330458559, 304pp.)

Publication Date: April 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the August 2010 Indie Next List
“I devoured this debut novel, needing to know how African-American pioneer Rachel DuPree would sustain her strength, protect her children, and pluck food from a parched earth and a dry cow, all while attempting to understand her proud, stubborn, and aloof husband. My image of the West and Native Americans, and my understanding of the racism that spreads with emigration have been forever impacted by her story.”
-- Cheryl McKeon, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA


Description

Short-listed for the Orange Award for New Writers

Long-listed for the Orange Prize

Winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Debut Novel Prize

It is 1917 in the South Dakota Badlands, and summer has been hard. Fourteen years have passed since Rachel and Isaac DuPree left Chicago to stake a claim in this unforgiving land. Isaac, a former Buffalo Soldier, is fiercely proud: black families are rare in the West, and black ranchers even rarer.

But it hasn't rained in months, the cattle bellow with thirst, and supplies are dwindling. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband will never leave his ranch: land means a measure of equality with the white man, and Isaac DuPree is not about to give it up just because times are hard. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to do what is right - for her children, for her husband, and for herself.

Moving and majestic, "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree" is an unforgettable novel about love and loyalty, homeland and belonging. Above all, it is the story of one woman's courage in the face of the most punishing adversity.




NPR
Saturday, Sep 18, 2010

Host Robert Smith talks with Ann Weisgarber about her debut novel, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree. It's set in the Badlands of South Dakota in the early 20th century and follows the fortunes of Rachel DuPree -- an African American homesteader -- and her growing family. More at NPR.org

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