Jubilee by Margaret Walker


Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South’s antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family’s oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker’s novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the ...

Details Jubilee

Release DateSep 6th, 2016
PublisherMariner Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Classics, Cultural, African American, Military History, Civil War

Reviews Jubilee

  • booklady
    Jubilee is the African-American counterpart to Gone with the Wind. But it is more than that as it is based on the actual story of Margaret Walker's great-grandmother, Margaret Duggans Ware Brown. Walker grew up listening to these stories told by her grandmother about her mother born a slave before the war. Later as an adult she spent years researching the pre- and post-war eras, various dialects, battles and famous personages, family history, etc...
  • Yvonne
    Completely heart-wrenching. I am still so much under the effect of this book that I can hardly verbalize what makes it so powerful.The heroine, Vyry, is one of those who stays with you forever. I feel like I lived through all of Vyry's horrors and joys with her and she will always be someone whose example of fortitude I will remind myself of when I experience horror of my own.The writing is not ornate, not overly complex. It's written in a style ...
  • Merna
    By now, I've read plenty of books set in antebellum south, and although this novel does not score as high as kindred or incidents in the life of a slave girl, it's still fairly good. It's the only one that I've read which captures the antebellum era, civil war, and the reconstruction period. My favourite aspect of the novel was the portrayal of the reconstruction era. The reconstruction period was truly a period of lost hopes and dreams. It seeme...
  • Margaret
    Imagine waking up each morning, knowing that your life was not yours to live, that you were under someone else's control. Imagine waking up and knowing that you had a hard day's labor, and you weren't getting paid. Imagine if you tried to "quit" this job, you would be whipped mercilessly.For Elvira "Vyry" Brown, this wasn't anything to imagine, it was her life. Born a slave to her white master and his black slave mistress, fate was not on her sid...
  • Jan Marquart
    I picked up Jubilee at a time when I was horribly sick from the effects of toxic mold. Since toxic mold spits out toxins I became chemically sensitive. At the time I was living in a small room, no kitchen, no furniture, sleeping on the hardwood. I had nothing but a crock pot and four pieces of organic clothing fiercely wondering how I was going to survive in a toxic world. I was attracted to Jubilee and it saved me from collapsing into my own lif...
  • Babydoll
    This was an excellent novel that author Margaret Walker developed depicting the pre and post antebellum life of a mulatto woman living in the South. Walker does an amazing job presenting the reader with the main character Vyry, who is born a slave and eventually experiences freedom after the conclusion of the Civil War. Vyry is shown as a strong willed woman with unwavering integrity, faith, and ambition. This book is definitely a classic within ...
  • ralowe
    i must have suppressed the knowledge that this was an oral history, since i became unsure by any type of guiding symbolist structure to the proceedings, and it made me very nervous. i wondered what the moral or message was intended to be, but of course fact, and maybe even fictive fact, offer no closure. one of my historic triggers is the time of reconstruction, this reading confirms it, the time where the horrors of the present-day took shape, i...
  • Didi
    I'm rating this one 3,5 stars!Here's the Live show discussion I had with Danielle from OneSmallPaw and Tatiana from Musical Tati. Enjoy and let me know what you thought of Jubilee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qozie...
  • Laurel Hicks
    Why has it taken fifty years for me to find this excellent historical novel? It's the reverse side of Gone with the Wind, and oh, so much better. (I am not a fan of GwtW.)
  • Margi
    Jubilee holds the true story of Vyry, the daughter of a plantation owner and his slave mistress. What made this book one of my new favorites is how well written it is...a combination of history that I never knew and this personal story of a great heroine. Vyry is like no other. She refuses to judge or hate but remains strong in the face of injustice. She loves, works, experiences loss, works, loves, experiences inhumanity over and over again. Thi...
  • Jazmine
    I will never forget this book. Not only is it well-crafted and written, but it is thoroughly enjoyable, vivid, and engrossing. I am so glad I got to read it and I feel it is a great choice for ap us history summer reading as it was mine. I feel it is an accomplishment in history to have such an account of that time period's history not just from the slave's vantage but others as well. It is so nice to have a real account of what people went throu...
  • Joy D
    Historical fiction based on the life of the author’s maternal great grandmother, the daughter of a black slave and a white plantation owner. The protagonist, Vyry, is a strong, black woman with an admirable integrity of spirit in the face of severe adversity. She is a woman of faith doing the best she can for her family, as they suffer through slavery and then through continued racist torment during Reconstruction. It is split into three parts:...
  • tj ✮
    This was beautiful and horribly sad, I love Vyry and literally all that she stands for and believes. I had to read this for history but honestly please read this, it's pretty freaking good
  • Beth Knight
    This is an excellent book everyone should read, especially students as part of their history courses. I loved Vyry, the main character. She's strong and has a good heart, despite all the strife she faced. Since this book is about slavery and the Civil War it contains some violence and passages that are difficult to read. There were times I wished I could jump through the book and kick some a**. Obviously, I'm very familiar with how slaves were tr...
  • Laurie
    4.5 stars - A stunning portrayal of a mid 18th century slave in south Georgia. Vyry is the fictional embodiment of Margaret Walker's own great-grandmother, and the story of Vyry is one that readers will remember for a long time. Other reviewers have noted that this is like Gone With the Wind from a slave's perspective, and it struck me as such as I was reading. Vyry is no less fiery than Scarlet O'Hara and her story is much more poignant since he...
  • Terri
    There was a certain dryness to the narrative which is why I didn't give it a full 5 star rating, but I'm not sure that is fair. I don't believe the text was written as a character piece. It is, instead, a well researched look at the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods and how that did and perhaps does affect us as individuals and as a nation. It will and should get you thinking. I can see myself recommending this book and reading it...
  • Julie
    This is a solid example of great story-telling. This novel, written in 1966, is the combined result of the author's 30 years of research of the ante-bellum years, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and her own great-grandmother's oral history passed down through her family. If you love historical fiction, great story-telling or thought-provoking novels, you will probably love this book.
  • Kim
    Originally published in 1966, this saga was re-released last year on its 50th anniversary with a new introduction by poet Nikki Giovanni.The book is the story of Vyry, a slave on the Dutton plantation in Georgia, and rarely leaves her to follow other characters. Vyry is the daughter of the slave owner John Dutton and the fifteenth child of Sis Hetta who dies in the first chapter. Vyry is light-skinned and can pass as white. She grows up in slave...
  • Jennifer
    a strongly affecting novel, and an important entry in the slave narrative canon. i was really taken in to this story - walker did a great job bringing this destructive time to life once again. my only small issue with the book came nearing the end, when the style shifted from storytelling feel, to a more sermon-y presentation. i feel as though walker did such a strong job conveying the horrors of these years, and the nearly insurmountable odds fa...
  • Jennifer DuBose
    Absolutely wonderful. The story, the characters, the narration (I listened on Audible)- just everything. If you want a realistic portrayal of the South before, during, and after the civil war, look no further. As romantic as Gone With the Wind is, it doesn’t compare to how real, heart wrenching, and spiritual Jubilee is. And it’s based on the life of the author’s great grandmother! I just don’t have the words to do this book justice. Here...
  • Judy Nadler
    I would give it 10 stars if I could. Gone with the Wind from the slave perspective. Written over fifty years ago, it only showed its age over the last couple of chapters.
  • Chrisl
    KIRKUS REVIEWAt first glance this Houghton Mifflin Prize Novel seems to travel the well worn sweet persimmon trail of Civil War novels--sparsely faceted characters bolstered by research into the vagaries of General Sherman's bristling and ragtag hordes. However, it is perhaps just because of the shades of the old Scarlet sagas, that this book achieves its peculiar poignancy, for the gallant South is reconstructed here through the living of Vyry, ...
  • Xondra Day
    WOW! This book blew me out of the water. I found it through 'Recommendations' right here on Goodreads, and I'm so glad I did!The book is centered around Vyry, a mulatto slave on a large cotton plantation in Georgia. We get to know her and her life before the Civil War, and working in the big house throughout the war years, and beyond. What I really liked about this book was that the author immersed you in the lives of the characters. The history ...
  • Lois
    I liked this story a lot, though it is wordy and lags in places. The author's research is extensive and as I have little more than a passing familiarity with the details of the Civil War it was much appreciated. More than the picture of slavery presented in this book, I appreciate the picture of reconstruction. Also the portrayal of Northern Whites as rabidly racist as their southern counterparts is captured vividly.The only real issue I have is ...
  • Linda
    What a wonderful character Margaret Walker developed with Vyry. She was real and admirable in the way she dealt with her struggles about who she was and how she was called to live her life. I appreciated the real, historically accurate conflicts that were depicted both between whites and blacks, as well as within the black community in the South. To top it off, the book is very readable, the story is interesting, and it's tough to put it down. Th...
  • G. Avetis
    I was asked to read this book by one of my college English teachers we had the entire semester to read but I could not put it down once I started and I finished the book in just few days. I always heard about slavery and the taria let things that happened but never had read anything that went in to details about peoples life storys. I guess since I was born and raised in Armenia for the first half of my life I didn't learn a lot about the US hist...
  • gaudeo
    This was a reread for me, but I hadn't read it since junior high school. It's no less powerful than it was then. I'll reread Gone with the Wind at some point, too, but it won't provide as full (or accurate) a picture of slave life before the Civil War or life for free African Americans after the war as this book does. Margaret Walker could not have honored her great-grandmother more than by writing her story in this book. It achieves that pot of ...
  • LemonLinda
    This is a compelling story of slavery in its last years before the civil War, during the War and the story as former slaves grasp the meaning of freedom and the reality of what that means for former slaves in the South during the years of Reconstruction. It is the fictionalized story based on the author's ancestors. It is also the story of one special character who has an indomitable spirit and is determined to live, forgive, survive and triumph ...
  • Jean Kelly
    A fasinating story - the author took what she knew of her great-grandmother born of a white plantation owner and a black slave who was really his mistress a sense. She married a black free man but then the Civil War erupted and years went by before she saw him again.Not just did she develop a novel from this but all the research she did of that time really made me feel that this could in fact have been the biography of this strong, upright woman.