Book Review: Young adult novel highlights South’s post-Civil War struggle with racism

By Robert Gold

St. Augustine Record, 5/21/2018

A splendid novel set in 19th-century St. Augustine, “Redfish Oak” is entertaining, well-written and a pleasure to read.

Historically based, “Redfish Oak” reveals the old city as it existed almost 150 years ago. Accompanying the story, readers will find descriptions of the town, mentions of its architecture, buildings, streets and well-known sites still extant as well as the many ethnic people who resided here. St. Augustine’s culture, socio-economic structure and local politics are also revealed along with the narrative. Though the book is a so-called Young Adult novel, it will appeal to older adults as well as teenagers.

The story takes place at the end of the Reconstruction Era and features a white girl, a young Native American warrior and a black boy as protagonists. It emphasizes the city’s struggle with racism following the Civil War and the Indian Wars. The arrival of captive Plains Indians sent to Fort Marion for imprisonment inflames the community and adds to the intense bitterness still evident in the South following the war, emancipation and the detested reconstruction acts.

The attitude of the town was diametrically different from its previous existence as a Spanish city. In the two preceding centuries, many blacks not only walked the streets of St. Augustine freely, but also served as soldiers in the army and, for a time, even lived in Mose, the first free black settlement in the United States. Christianized Indians likewise lived freely in and about St. Augustine.

Whatever the irony of the change of cultural values, post-war St. Augustine was a town where blacks and Native Americans faced not only intolerance, but hostility. Of course, there were those in the community, who looked at them without such prejudice and the young girl, Nan, the lead protagonist in the story was a prime example. Upset by a prejudiced murder investigation, she leads her two young friends on a mission to change the town’s intolerance.

“Redfish Oak” is a touching story as well as a sound historical novel. A striking illustration of the “Redfish Oak,” today’s 600-year-old Senator, appears on the book’s red cover.

Q&A with author Jewel Grutman

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Jewel Grutman: As an amateur historian of Native Americans, I was aware of the Plains Indians’ arrival in 1875 and thought it would make a good story. George and I worked together before on a screenplay that focused on a single incident in the Lewis and Clark expedition and its imagined aftermath as seen through the eyes of a Blackfoot warrior.

2. What type of research was involved?

We read about Reconstruction. We read bios of Grant and of Nathan Bedford Forrest and others. We read a book about the arrival of the Plains Indians to St. Augustine, Capt. Pratt’s autobiography of his years trying to re-educate thousands of Indians, several histories of St. Augustine and a book of art created by one of the Native Americans in Fort Marion. We also did much research locally.

3. How would you describe your writing process?

Together, but on the phone and via email, we hammered out a structure, then George took the lead on the writing, a chapter at a time. We discussed each one until it was good enough to put to bed, then went onto the next. It took two years. The actual manuscript preparation after the novel was completed was a joint exercise.

4. What do you hope readers will get out of the book?

First, an appreciation of a compelling story. Then an acknowledgment that despite the best efforts of courageous people to reduce racial hatred, it appears to be an enduring part of human nature.

5. Who is your favorite writer?

I prefer classic Russians like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, as well as popular crime writers like John Sanford, Lee Childs and historic fiction writers like Hillary Mantel, Steve Berry and Shusako Endo. George reads mostly nonfiction. His favorite historians are Ron Chernow and Joseph Ellis. For fiction, we both like James Lee Burke.

Ryan E Maliksi

5.0 out of 5 stars

A sobering must-read that shows the on-going corrosive effects of the Civil War

August 7, 2019

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George Putnam and Jewel Grutman's book, Redfish Oak, is a sobering must-read that navigates the young lives of an unlikely trio in St. Augustine, Florida; during a very pivotal time of political unrest in American history--post Civil war. The book explores a broad range of heavy topics that all primarily center on one common theme of: how an individual’s intersections of their identity can prove to either be beneficial or fatal to them. I seldom read books of the historical-fiction genre, especially ones that center around the Civil War, as from experience, I have read time and time again, the same historical buff narrative that attempts to put a empathizing twist to the confederate side of the story. I never having read any of Putnam’s work prior, went into this particular novel more open-minded given the unique twist of the three main characters who not only are unlikely allies because of racial identities, but happen to be in their adolescence. I really loved how Putnam integrated three young main characters to steer the plot as just by virtue of being younger during this time, you see their characters and the innocence and curiosity they have regarding all of the tension going on. I love books like this that focus on any form of narrative from a younger character, as children in books give such a uniquely refreshing perspective on the world around them and are simultaneously extremely susceptible to changing and forming opinions from the influences and propaganda around them. This story however, quickly proved to be an exception to the other historical fictions and I ended up really loving this book from start to finish. My favorite aspect of this novel is how much it shows us, just how corrosive and toxic the aftermath of the Civil war in America continues to have a large impact present-day, as it mirrors many contemporary social, political, and economical issues that are on-going and largely produced by the turmoil and hate that prompted the Civil War to begin with.

Shanell

5.0 out of 5 stars

An amazing historical novel that has a little bit of everything.

April 11, 2019

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This story is set around the civil war. This book has everything happiness, anger, a little suspense, romance, well researched history, politics and a solid story line that will keep you turning pages well into the night. I don’t generally get into historical novels. But I was pleasantly surprised by this read. It manages to address issues that are still running deep in the US today. The characters are so well written, you feel like you know them and their struggles personally. Some you wish you were friends with and others you wish for nothing less than Karma to knock them on their butt. I find myself really wishing there is a sequel to this book and maybe many sequels after that so we can see what becomes of the seventeen year old female lead in this story. I love the accurate history in this book. The authors put so much into this book. I look forward to reading more from them.

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John H. Manhold

5.0 out of 5 stars

Suspenseful thriller with authentic historical bases.

April 25, 2019

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Redfish Oak ISBN: 9780997598650 On-Target Words (Kindlewho Edition) copyright and written by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman.
The authors have set forth a historical novel covering the often viscous post- Civil War Era particularly in the south. Four hundred year old St. Augustine, FL is the setting. Young, beautiful and well educated Nan Carew is living temporally in town with her father Lance, a distinguished lawyer, while their mansion is being renovated. Nan, along with another lovely young woman, Abigail Kearney, teaches black children and is attempting to educate them to converse more with whites. Nan befriends a young black boy, Lija Taylor, who is in her class and also Boy Hunting, a young Kiowa Indian brought into the area with a number of other Kiowa and Cheyenne by Captain Pratt as an experiment to train Indians in white man’s ways, who is also being taught by the two young women and their mentor. When Abigail is killed under mysterious circumstances, former Confederate General Wood, a dedicated black/Indian hater, now St. Augustine’s Sheriff, arrests Lije’s father. Nan, a headstrong and most determined individual decides to fight the unleashed open hatred of blacks and Indians exhibited by Wood and others and the story escalates into a suspenseful thriller peopled by these and other interestingly characterized villains and heroes.
Discussion: A captivating tale provided by unusual authors and containing characters a reader can love and hate while learning of a most vicious prejudicial era simultaneously with a sizeable number of historical facts well documented by the list of authoritative individuals and references included.

Rev. Stephen R. Wilson

5.0 out of 5 stars

Do hard things

July 31, 2019

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Redfish Oak is an amazing and equally powerful story. It is set in Florida around the post-Civil War era. It is about fighting for the right thing, regardless of the cost.

When a train arrives in the city carrying Native Americans for imprisonment, the area erupts into violence. Three young people make a peaceful pact which sets them in a dangerous path. A Young Indian warrior, white girl, and Negro boy come together after the ten years of civil war. Their worlds collide in a time characterized by racism and prejudice. The three join forces to stop violence the once serene resort of Augustine in Florida is engulfed in racial tension.

The author evokes politics, tensions, and emotions akin to the social setting of America today. The book gives a way of creating peace in war aftermath. Most importantly, it brings hope and inspiration to those who are to fight for what is right. It has a great plot and relatable characters.

 

KarynH

5.0 out of 5 stars“An amazing definition of how a good story should go”

April 7, 2019

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First of all, it is set around the era of the civil with all its ups and downs. This era serves as a kind of mirror for the past as well as a good breeding ground for a lot of emotional refreshment. This book certainly gave me something to always reminiscence over and over.
There are a lot of issues raised in this novel that still back bites our society till date and a large majority still live with it as if though it is okay. Biased judgment was a great issue in the civil war days and still remains a problem in today’s social setting. Sometimes I begin to wonder what has gone wrong with humanity. I like reading about the civil war days, I always have this curiosity to know how people managed to cope and survive in those troubled days.
George Putnam and Jewel Grutman really did justice to this book with a well-written plot and amazing characters that were interesting to follow all through the pages of the book.
This book is certainly an inspiration for those who stand and fight on the part of the right.

One person found this helpful

Helpful

Emerson Rose Craig

5.0 out of 5 stars

Captivating and Important Story

April 15, 2019

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This historical novel takes a unique approach as it tackles crucial topics such as race discrimination. From the perspective of three children living in Florida just ten years after the civil war, a white girl, a black boy, and a young Indian boy. They join forces to try and stop the violence in their town no matter the costs. This story is a powerful one about standing up for what is right. I appreciate how this story works to show as many perspectives as possible. We see a white woman trying to teach a class of black children and how her hope to see peace can blind her from what really happens in their lives. Or how those discriminated against can turn their anger on those they see as lower. The topic is incredibly important and in many ways shows how far we have come but also how far we still have to go. The book balances hope and historical accuracy well. I was captivated by this book and very much enjoyed reading it.

One person found this helpful

Amy Williams

5.0 out of 5 stars

A poignant, emotional historical novel

April 22, 2019

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You might want to get your tissues out for this book. “Redfish Oak” tells of the intersection of three worlds in post-Civil War America: whites, Native Americans, and African Americans. Set in St. Augustine, Florida, we see their worlds collide in an era of prejudice and racism in the antebellum South. When a train of Native Americans arrives in the city for imprisonment, the populace erupts in violence. A pact is made between unlikely allies in an effort to stem the worst.

This was an incredible novel. Poignantly written, the authors did an amazing job of evoking the complicated tensions, emotions, politics, and societal clashes in one of the most tumultuous times in American history. The authors recreate a vibrant world with substantial and well-developed characters, thick plots and plot twists, and enough description to bring you right into history. A highly-recommended read.

One person found this helpful

 

Scarlett Jensen

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Historical Adventure American Indian Story in St Augustine, Fllorida of 1875

July 30, 2019

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George Putnam is a screenwriter, author, and ghostwriter living in Los Angeles. Putnam is also a musician and composer. Though Putnam's literary interest is crime fiction, his collaboration with Jewel Grutman on a work of historical fiction, "Redfish Oak," for the plight of Native Americans, published 2017. George Putnam, hoping to write music for film and TV, he moved to Los Angeles. George's interest from music to screenplays and novels, moved to co- write with Attorney-Author Jewel Grutman. They agreed to work together on historical novel based on the arrival of hostile Indian prisoners sent to St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875 and the racially sensitive city's reaction to them. It would have adventure, romance, violence, tragedy, heroism, and be told through the eyes of three unlikely allies, led by a spirited young female protagonist.

In 1875 St. Augustine, Florida, race-based fear and hatred is rising in the wake of the failing Reconstruction. When a trainload of Plains Indians are delivered to the Fort for incarceration and acclamation, the city's tensions explode. Out of the chaos, a White girl, a Negro boy and a young Indian warrior fight prejudice to free a man accused of murdering a young white woman.

The story is image-rich historical and geographical depiction of a society and many guests including artists, scholars and business leaders who visited St Augustine for its winter climate, magnificent coastal setting, and rich history as the country's oldest city with a European heritage.

The story tells of barbaric acts to butchered Indian children, enslaving them and use them as prostitutes. This was retribution for the atrocities white men have inflicted when they captured Indian women. The privileged Whites made an excellent living in the slave-trade. Women fought to be freed from degradation and restrictions, and work reservation for Whites.
Excerpt:
"I know the traits of Nigras– laziness, lying and lust–and their inability to appreciate the meaning of freedom, same with savage Indians. Take away their lands and buffalo, and degradations against whites follow. Freedom cannot be conferred on certain races with the mere signing of proclamations." Freedom also falls on the liberators? A story of tribal life, as warriors, great horsemen and hunters, breaking barriers and challenging authority."
What fascinates me is the front page cover of the novel with red background. The following excerpt may explain:

"The only sounds came from the horses and flocks of birds. The big sky was bright blue. Dick took in prevailing fragrances of jasmine, orange blossom and the salty marine breeze with large, successive breaths. "What do you call this place we're going to?" asked Dick. "Redfish Oak," said Lije. "You'll see how combrush that had collected on his clothes. "I've never seen such a big trunk and long branches." That is where Lije goes when he needs a quiet place for himself. "Me and the braves, we all had our quiet places."
This book translated into a film will do it justice. English with a interesting and creative slant. The contents move from spiritual to reality intwined in the social discriminatory order of the time. The You have to break the mold of passivity and subjugation women have been forced into. It's the white man's progress against the red man's old ways. The tribes were told to get out of the way. That was the beginning of the end for Indians.
Although this book is a work of fiction, it takes place in a historic environment that has remained much the same for over four-hundred years. It was therefore important to be as historically correct as possible, particularly with respect to descriptions of the town and its structures as they existed one-hundred and forty years ago.

Some of the characters are patterned on real persons, taking only those liberties needed to advance the action while trying to stay true to their essential values and characteristics as described in biographies and other written materials about them. The great live oak tree, named The Senator, is over six-hundred years old and still stands off San Marco Boulevard in St. Augustine. Redfish still swarm in Hospital Creek and the estuary. Most of the narrow streets now crammed with cars and tourists are laid out as they were hundreds of years ago.
The information gleaned from sources is woven throughout the novel to give it context and authenticity. None of this could have been done without the assistance of others.
A novel full of facts of historical value, and deep research..
Scarlett Jensen
28 July 2019

Nan

5.0 out of 5 stars

Would you fight for what you believe is right?

March 7, 2019

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This captivating book entitled, "Redfish Oak" by George Putnam tells a story of historical fiction set in St. Augustine, Florida in the year of 1875.

Historical figures from the past leap off the pages to tell the story of the struggles faced by those living during the time of the post Civil War era, a time of reconstruction and reorganization of the southern Confederate states into the Union. A reminder of those who have fought for what is right for themselves, for others and for our country.

Nan Carew, a teacher and daughter of Lance Carew, a lawyer, tells this story that is filled with mystery and suspense. Follow the lives of many characters in this book including Nan Carew's student, Lije Taylor and his father, James (Jimbo) Taylor as the plot twists and turns each day.

Hide out at Redfish Oak, the secret place of Lije and Dick to learn of the challenges they are facing as young lads growing up during this time in history.

Spy on Sheriff Woods and his followers at the fish camp. Investigate and track to find clues with Boy Hunting, a young Kiowa Indian artist who draws and teaches others about his family history.

Document history with Civil War photographer, Carter Greene and celebrate his romance with Nan.

Witness a courtroom trial, its outcome and how it affects the townspeople.

Learn about the historical figures brought to life including: Captain Richard Pratt who is leading the rehabilitation of the Cheyenne Indians at Fort Marion and who eventually opens the Carlisle Indian Industrial School; Chief Gray Beard who is a leader of the Cheyenne Indians; Colonel Benjamin Gibson and Captain Henry Wirz who are accused of mistreating Prentiss and other prisoners of war at Andersonville Prison in Georgia; General Frederick T. Dent who is related to President Ulysses S. Grant and is replacing Commander Hamilton who was reassigned duties; and General George Custer who led his cavalry against the Lakota Indians and affected relations with them.

Experience deceit, shock, bliss and a wide range of other emotions as you enjoy reading this page-turner to the end!

 

Jerry Olasakinju

4.0 out of 5 stars

Peace in the time of war

July 23, 2019

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I am a lover of multicultural stories, and it doesn’t get better when people from different races and cultures mix together to create better experiences for one another.
In REDFISH OAK, a White girl, a Negro boy, and a young Indian warrior make a very risky agreement for peaceful co-existence. It isn’t always like that before. They come together ten years after the Civil War that sparks racial tension and acrimony that almost make their lives unbearable in once-a-pristine resort of St. Augustine, Florida.
Any society that is a crossroads should encourage its citizens to read this book. It is a typical example of how to create peace from the ashes of war and distrust. I like the book’s characterization and its diction is beautifully done.

One person found this helpful

JMabie

5.0 out of 5 stars

Couldn't Put it Down

August 8, 2019

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I don’t always comment on the cover of a book, but I feel it’s necessary for this one. I know some people may think it’s odd I spend any time analyzing the cover. However, the reality is that we see the cover first, and it's the thing that catches our eye, or in some cases, doesn’t. The cover doesn’t immediately draw your attention, but it definitely is the right tone for the book.
Redfish Oak is one of the most powerfully moving books I’ve ever read. It elicits deep emotions, which to me, is a sign of an excellent writer, or in this case, writers. Authors, George Putnam, and Jewel Grutman have come together to write a passionate, fascinating historical novel.
The book brings together three strong, unique characters and the quality of character development is incredible. The authors truly bring them alive. The setting they build in this book, post-civil war in the south, is already an emotionally fueled storyline. However, when the authors bring three characters with such different backgrounds together, the book became nothing short of incredible.
It has been a long time since I have read a book so moving as Redfish Oak. I would highly recommend it others, even those not prone to read historical novels. I feel that this multi-cultural novel is so much more than a historical story, especially in today’s world. Though this is a more substantial read, it is still a page-turner and will keep you up reading well past bedtime, at least it did for me.

 

Phil Bolos

5.0 out of 5 starsBrave and historical

July 25, 2019

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Redfish Oak by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman is a work of historical fiction that takes us into Florida just after the end of the Civil War. Racism and hatred are running abound in the South as many are struggling with the fact that the war has been lost and a way of life needs to change. Nan is a young white girl who is highly educated. She is living with her father in St. Augustine when a train arrives carrying Native Americans who are going to be part of a test to see if the natives can learn the ways of white men. Nan becomes friends with a black boy who she meets as well as one of the Native American children. All seems to be fine until one of the teachers is killed under mysterious circumstances. The sheriff of the town, a former confederate general, immediately allows he hatred and racism to become the judge and jury. Nan and her friends make a pact to work together to stop the violence before it becomes too late.
This was a great read. Not only does it capture the history of what was going on at the time, it offers a great narrative that pulls the reader in. The characters are memorable and heroic in their own right, and the villains are of the worst kind. The story moves along at a fast pace and keeps the reader interested. Fans of historical fiction will greatly enjoy this read. Nicely done!

Cat Lugo

4.0 out of 5 stars

A Right-Fighters Book

March 17, 2019

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Redfish Oak by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman is a book all right-fighters will love. A historical novel set in the Civil War days of Reconstruction when whites were trying to transform the Indians and at the same time put their own lives and society back on its feet. The setting is a good one for conflict and a look into the past. It has lots of emotions in it and will give readers a lot to think about. Many of the issues presented made me think of similar issues of today; how we, as a human race, still haven’t conquered prejudice. Will we ever? I like reading about Civil War days and imagining what life was like in those days.; this book brought those days to life for me.
The characters in the book were inspiring. I related to Nan, she is a strong and very capable woman, willing to suffer for what she believes is right. I wondered if our world is lacking in these kinds of people, and if so, why? I think we need more people who will stand up for their beliefs and actually suffer for them if necessary.
The Indians in the story were trying to assimilate into the society of the day and as a reader, I could really feel their pain. They only wanted to live out their lives in the way they always had. Taking that away from a person is so wrong; no matter the reason. The setting of the book in St. Augustine, Florida was a surprise to me. I had preconceived notions of what Florida was and is like, but this book opened the door on a whole new world. I could tell that a lot of research went into the book and that will keep readers turning the pages.

Annie23

5.0 out of 5 stars

A great story with as much relevance today as it had after the civil war

August 9, 2019

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This historical novel takes place 10 years after the Civil War, and its main characters are of three different races, a white girl, a black boy and an Indian boy. The three works together to try to stop the violence that is happening in their normally peaceful town of St. Augustine, Florida and to fight the pervasive racism.
When a young woman who is teaching the black children is killed under mysterious circumstances, the father of the black boy is accused by General Wood, a former Confederate soldier, of the murder.
Historically accurate, well researched, and well written, Redfish Oak by George Putnam is an excellent read dealing with issues that are still ongoing today.

One person found this helpful

Grady HarpTop Contributor: Children's Books

HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER

5.0 out of 5 stars

…before behavior towards other can change, attitudes must change’

February 28, 2019

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Los Angeles author George Putnam began his artistic career in music – piano and composition – with degrees from Cal State University, San Bernardino and UC Riverside and taught piano at University of Redlands. Now in Los Angeles George has turned to writing, both for films, television and novels both of his own and now in collaboration with attorney/author Jewel Grutman he joins the ranks of epic historical fiction writers with REDFISH OAK.

Apropos of the character of this impressive book the authors place a comment before the story begins, a comment that says much about not only this fine novel but also about the tenor of our time at present. ’Redfish Oak is set in the turbulent and chaotic period of post-Civil War Reconstruction in Florida. To convey authenticity bas on extensive research of the time covered in the novel, we used dialect for certain characters in order to make them as real as possible for our readers. We chose to explore universal and timeless themes that arise when race and class converge. As history shows, such a convergence is rarely pretty. But hope must live.’

In an engrossing manner the authors reflect on nineteenth century customs, behavior and racial violence punctuated with colloquialisms and language that befits that era. The clashes are among Caucasians, American Indians, African Americans and the bigotry that reigned in the post Civil War south. As the terse synopsis states, ‘’A White girl, a Negro boy, and a young Indian warrior make a dangerous pact. Ten years after the Civil War, race-based fear and hatred threaten lives in the once-idyllic resort of St. Augustine, Florida. When a train arrives carrying renegade Plains Indians ordered to Ft. Marion for imprisonment, the community erupts. From this combustible mix emerge three unlikely allies determined to stop the violence.‘

Other authors have offered varying versions of this particular time but these authors add another dimension to the story by relating the tale in the minds of youngsters who vividly depict the gruesome racial biases that threatened to divide an already divided country. That aspect of the book brings the crises and resolutions of that period into focus, allowing the reader to examine more closely the continuing challenge of racism. This is a very fine book, worthy of attention. The story is exceptional: the lessons, much needed. As the primary character Nan states, ’Nothing worthwhile is won easily. Fighting for it is the thing.’ Grady Harp, February 19

Lachelle

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars

Bravo - If you want to FEEL and learn - get this one!

March 8, 2019

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Wow, a truly moving piece of work. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am TRULY grateful for reading this. In my reviews I like to say how I felt while reading. This book had me feeling a little bit of everything. Joy, fear, anticipation, anger, heart fluttering romance and anger again. I said out loud, noooooooo and woohooo and awwwe and so many other exclamations on many occasions. I loved this book. At the end I screamed, in my cubicle at work, GOOOO LIJE!!!!! I really did.

This book made me think about today's society. How unfounded hate can ruin a society. How not having all of the facts, straightforward, can turn people against each other at the drop of a hat. How sometimes it’s seems so hard to just do the right thing. How it is sometimes interpreted that people outside of certain races are seen as less than and then praised, almost like animals or savages, for being able to acclimate to the race that is holding them prisoner.
I loved the characters. Nan was a smart, strong woman.. period. She saw the good in people and tried to make things right when she saw the bad. Her father seemed very even keel. A lawyer, widow and father, seeking justice for all. Boy Hunting, so smart and talented. I am not sure why I was upset when they chose to call him Hunting instead of his full name. It was almost as if something else was being taken from him. Again, he was so smart and not because he was trained the American way. And my favorite, Lije. Wow, I could feel his pain and desperation to do right. How his thirst for education slowing became stronger and stronger. I could hear him, and feel what he was going through.

Now that I have told you nothing about the meat of the book, get it. Read it and enjoy. Explore what life may have been like or how others may have felt (or maybe still feel), outside of your culture. Remember or discover letter writing. Smile, cry and laugh with this one!

Elizabeth Melton

5.0 out of 5 stars

Amazing tale

March 23, 2019

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This book was so good! The author took historical facts, intertwined fictional characters and created a tale so captivating it utterly consumed me. I could not put this book down! The author did an impressive job of creating characters that you love, that you love to hate and that inspire. There is a line where one character named Floyd is watching the main female character named
NaN walk away and he was thinking she would not know how to put revenge into action. The character of nan assumed by the males in the city to be a young vapid and beautiful woman and nothing. However,through out the book the reader sees this seemingly one dimensional character reveal the many layers of humanity we all have and try to keep hidden. The characters in this book have one major common ingredient and that is they are all flawed with sinful nature. Characters like Nan, Lije, Hunting, And Dick try to make this world a better place for the future despite their flaws ( and sometimes utilizing their flaws)and some characters ( I cant name with out giving spoilers away) try
To keep others held down for their own benefit. I am not a huge history buff and have a hard time finding a lot of the sad and hard times that is our past hard to stomach. This book and this author has a genuine skill at making the hardships of the past very interesting and creating characters that truly inspire the reader ( or at least this reader)to want to do better for the future of this nation/world! I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

 

Faith Lee

5.0 out of 5 star

A gripping story that leaves a lasting impression

August 13, 2019

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“Redfish Oak” is a story about how three most unlikely individuals come together as allies to help a community that fraught with violence and discrimination to find peace. The story is set in St. Augustine, Florida, ten years after the Civil War. A White girl, a Negro boy, and a young Indian warrior come together to stop the violence that has been triggered by a train arriving with renegade Plains Indians for imprisonment.

The book is steeped in historical facts that have been well-researched and presented in an detailed narration. Yet it does not bore like what history texts might. In fact, because of the details and realism of the entire story and characters that have been well-developed, the story of highly gripping.

Inevitably, the reader is also made to reflect on their current social situation where racial prejudice still remains even in a modern world shrunk by technology.

The book is highly engaging and an emotional read. It is one that creates a lasting impression on the reader.

 

J. Armstrong

4.0 out of 5 stars

Well written historical crime story with racial tension undertones and coming of age

July 26, 2019

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Set after the civil war in St. Augustine Florida, this book explores the relationship between a group of young adults who come together to fight injustice despite the great odds against them. A prison train rolls into St Augustine with roughly 70 Indians. A young white lady, Abigail Kearney is murdered, and a black man is arrested and accused of the crime. The man’s son, Lije, a young Indian warrior from the train Hunting and Nan, a beautiful and smart young whit girl work together to uncover corruption, Klan members and the towns racial biases and discrimination in a bid to prove the innocence of Lije’s father.
This novel was so well written it almost jumped off the pages. I enjoyed reading the dialects, the issues these youngsters faced and their resourcefulness and doggedness in chasing their goals. The author team did a fantastic work in delivering a piece of work that while set in the past has a definite application to our current unrest in the nation. Worth your time to pick this up and read it.

 

A Cannady

5.0 out of 5 stars

A must-read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction

August 17, 2019

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I’m a fan of Civil War historical fiction, so I was excited to read “Redfish Oak.” I’m happy to say that George Putnam didn’t disappoint. Life after the Civil War in St. Augustine, Florida isn’t all peaches and cream for most of society. Nan Carew, an upper-class, educated, and good-looking white woman, seems to have it all together. But she and a friend teach black children and encourage them to interact with white people. Even though the Civil War is over, blacks are still not considered equal, and this enrages many people in the town. Her fellow teacher, Abigail, dies under mysterious circumstances, and the person accused of the murder is a friend of Nan’s. He is accused because of his race, and Nan jumps in to protest and fight the obvious racism flowing through the town. The emotions in this book will have you crying tears of joy and sorrow, turning the page as you root for the good guys, and angry at the injustice.

Amanda Adams

4.0 out of 5 stars

Brutally accurate

April 30, 2019

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"A White girl, a Negro boy, and a young Indian warrior make a dangerous pact."
Redfish Oak
by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman

The first sentence from the summary of this post-Civil War era novel, which encompasses topics from racism to romance to history, could not be more broad and yet it truly is a sincere abbreviation for this work of fiction - you almost cannot imagine where this might lead. George Putnam has written characters that feel as real to me as my own neighbors for the level of validity they have been given. The southern setting works both the explain and exacerbate the degree to which the prejudice, racism and customs that frame this plot.

There are many instances of brutality vividly portrayed in these pages so be forewarned. However, how could a book written about this time in history not be violent? In my opinion, inaccurately depicting those historic years would have been far worse.

 

JoJo Maxson

5.0 out of 5 stars

This marks a dark spot in our history.

April 22, 2019

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George Putnam invents a novel that depicts the attitudes of various races of people ten years after the Civil War. Redfish Oak shows how after the Yankees won the war much of the bitterness, mistrust, and prejudice behavior still surrounded the southern people. It is hard to get over loss of loved ones, your livelihood, and status in the community. The black people are trying to move ahead, just like some tells them they should, while others are still trying to put them in a place of shame.
 
I found the dialect and opinions in Redfish Oak to be consistent with the era and culture. I loved the character Nan Carew. The author set up this woman as caring, outspoken, and viewing all men as an equal. She would have been a novelty when men dominated women and anyone else who was of a different ethnic group. Excellent historical read, with much research and thought put into this novel. The characters are accurate and bold in their views, right or wrong; thankful much has changed in prejudice ideas.   

Jose Popoff

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars

A very pleasant reading

August 7, 2019

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While I was reading through Redfish Oak, I had this sensation of fullness, like in a good kind of way. This story is laden with romance, suspense, thrills, and history. Although I am not what you would call a history buff or anything related, I do like to get facts checked, and a historical novel like this one was no exception.

I was delighted to find out that this story, placed during the civil war, has historical accuracy. The story is so deep and intense. I believe that one of the factors that contribute to the ease with which the story absorbs you is the way the characters are developed. You feel like you know them very well and know what to expect from them. This sense of relatability is what made this story more meaningful to me.

A truly captivating story portraying important topics such as hate, racism, injustice, but even more important, hope, strength, and determination.

Jacqueline

5.0 out of 5 stars

St. Augustine history brought to life in a wonderful story

March 6, 2019

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Redfish Oak is a work of historical fiction, full of drama, intrigue, mystery, romance, and revenge, everything you could ask for in a great book. The main character is Nan Carew, a young southern woman living in St. Augustine with her lawyer father. The story opens with the arrival of relocated Native Americans to Fort Marion, housed at the Castillo de San Marcos. They are not welcomed with open arms by many people of the town, but eventually begin to assimilate. Then there is the murder of a young white woman in the section of town known as Little Africa that leads to a prison escape, more murders, and eventually a trial. By becoming involved in everything that occurs, Nan grows into a self-aware woman with a sense of justice and purpose.
This book illustrates very well the trials and tribulations that the African-American population, as well as the Indian population, had to deal with due to living in a southern state after the end of the Civil War. Even though the war was over, there was still a great deal of prejudice and hatred that resulted in the establishment of the KKK, which also plays a part in this tale. The author did a great job exploring the true facts about the incarceration of the Plains Indians and how they lived and worked during their time in Florida. Being familiar with the historic area of St. Augustine, I was eager to read this narrative and I was not disappointed.

Celeste L

5.0 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction - Civil War

August 13, 2019

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Redfish Oak by George Putnam was a truly intriguing historical fiction book. Primarily, the story is about the Civil War but it is about so much more than just the war. I felt like I could tell that the author was well prepared to write this story. It felt like he did a great job with his research and this I believe helped make the characters feel like they were so well known. I felt connected with the characters, and I really did develop somewhat of an emotional bond with them as I read their story. My eyes were opened as to just how big of effects and an impact the Civil War had on people, the economy, and politics. The aftermath was extremely toxic. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any person who is interested in stories that are related to historical fiction or the Civil War.

V.E.

VINE VOICE

4.0 out of 5 stars

Awesome book

February 26, 2019

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Redfish Oak by George Putnam is a great historical fiction novel, one which encapsulates the tension in the South ten years after the Civil War. You can tell that the history was extensively researched, and that is so important in a novel of this kind. Taking place in 1875 in St. Augustine, FL, a group of Indians from Oklahoma are brought to the city, namely the Spanish fort, in order to assimilate into white society. If that isn't bad enough, they are thrown into a myriad of emotions, political turmoil and aspirations, and citizens simply trying to recover from the Civil War. This book has it all from a great mystery to political commentary that is still relevant today. The characters are well described, the female heroine being especially strong, and the history itself is important to note and remember. You will never look at St. Augustine the same way. You owe it to yourself to read this important and noteworthy book. Highly recommend.

Tony

5.0 out of 5 stars

About Redfish Oak

August 22, 2019

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Authors Putnam and Grutman explain the setting for Redfish Oak, as described in the Author’s Note at the beginning of the text. Set in the unsettled and conflict-driven era of the post-Civil War in the 1800, Putnam and Grutman focuses on events as they occur in Florida.
Rich and lavish details to share, as the authors go deep with historical landmarks like the Ku Klux Klan, capture of the Indians, the slave trade, and consequent abolishment of slave trade, and even a cameo role for abolitionist and author, “Harriet Beecher Stowe”.
Redfish Oak is rich and entertaining, filled with a measure of everything needed to keep the reader going – conflict, romance, intriguing characters, chaos, and expectant results. Nice read.

Julius Z

4.0 out of 5 stars

Great!

February 28, 2019

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The book “Redfish Oak” is must read, especially for young people who need to know what happened in history to prevent this in the future. I believe that Civil Wars are the worst, since people living together take part in the war. This book described the events that occurred in the 19th century, after the Civil War, when a group of people was brought in for cultural enrichment. People didn’t want to teach black people, society was unfair to them, it was a time of the abolition of slavery. Here we meet a girl who, with the help of her friends, wants to restore justice. Interesting characters and good author's style made my reading exciting and interesting. I was immersed in the story due to its the plot and historical facts. The book “Redfish Oak” made me think and search more information about the history of that time. Highly recommended.

Nicki

5.0 out of 5 stars

Historical Fiction

April 23, 2019

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The book is very interesting and filled with many heroes and villains. Nan is the main protagonist who is a White urban female living in the resort town of Florida. She is the only daughter of an activist and brought up to respect human rights. However, in a few short months, she sees a lot of transformation in her town, with her best friend murdered, rising racial tensions, and the advent of a group of Red Indians who had supposedly tortured a White Family. During this time she meets her future husband, gets involved in conspiracies and brings to right some injustices of the town. The book is charmingly written and brings alive the represented time. There are many mentions of brutalities. Still, the story comes out as a brilliant read.

astrofan

5.0 out of 5 stars

Excellent historical fiction.

April 21, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I'd say give this one a miss if you are easily offended by historically realistic, racially charged novels, but this is a really good read that could have really happened in Florida during the the post-Civil War era. Basically, three kids from very different racial backgrounds band together in an attempt to stop racial violence. Of course they're facing an uphill battle in an environment where Native Americans are still seen purely as obstacles to American expansion and there's still a lot of resentment aimed at black people. I liked how well the characters were fleshed-out when it would have been so tempting to make them into racial caricatures, the plot moved on at a good pace, and the writing felt crisp.

William C. Christelman

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fictional accounts of tensions in the South after the Civil War

October 19, 2018

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

I just had the pleasure of reading REDFISH OAK by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman. I found it a very difficult book and to put down until I had finished reading it.
Having taught History, I found the subject matter fascinating. While the story is fiction, the events are very characteristic of what was actually taking place in the United States Shortly after the Civil War. The era of Reconstruction, Carpetbaggers, Imancipation of Slaves, and the treatment of Native Americans, is well portrayed.
The research that went into the writing of this novel is extensive. The authors have incorporated this research into events that make up the premise of the story. Again, while the plot is fiction, the events and characters making the story are based on what appears to be near actual happenings throughout the South during this time period.
I highly recommend the reading of REDFISH OAK to anyone interested in this time period of the United State, or for anyone interested in a vey suspense filled novel.

One person found this helpful

Jimmy ray

5.0 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction with real life issues

February 27, 2019

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Redfish oak is a historical fiction about the south after the war and the unrest and palpable tension between the citizens. This story focus is on nan, like, and boy hunting. Follow the journey of these fictional characters through in volatile atmosphere of this time in history. The characters are well developed and relatable to this time in history. The events in the story focus on what this time in the past was and how difficult it was with race relations and slavery just being abolished. I found the author to be very knowledgeable and informed. George Putnam writes in the style and voice of this time in history as events occur. Check this one out and let me know what you think.

Paula Garcia

4.0 out of 5 stars

Thought-provoking, packed with life lessons and the feels

August 11, 2019

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George Putnam and Jewel Grutman packed so much life lessons and gave me so much feels in the "Redfish Oak”. This book is a carefully thought-out historical fiction that opens the minds of readers to reflect on how the issues presented in the narrative are still relevant to our society today. To me, at the core of the story is the issue of trust, as one of the lines pointed out--- “If I am to build a strong and binding friendship, it must be about trust.” Reading this book reminded me of how I felt reading To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies when I was in my early teens.

Katie Maughan

5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction

July 26, 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This was such an incredible story! I absolutely LOVE historical fiction novels and I read them avidly. This book was definitely in the top 10 best ones I've read. It was filled such suspense and detail! I love how the author ended the book and tied up the loose ends of the story. It was such a sad and heart wrenching story with such a happy ending. You have to read this amazing book!

One person found this helpful

Danonv

5.0 out of 5 stars

A must read. I loved this book.

November 29, 2018

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I loved Redfish Oak! I finished it last night and I was sorry for it to come to an end. It is wonderful! When I get involved in a good book the characters become my friends and I don't like to let them go when I finish the book. I got very involved in it and looked up what the Minorcans were. I never had heard about them before. What I find interesting is how our society hasn't really changed all that much in nearly 150 years. They wanted term limits way back then and it still hasn't happened. A lot of people were racist back then and still are today.
My husband and I went to St. Augustine, Florida several years ago and now I would love to go back and take a better look.

One person found this helpful

 

R Whitman

5.0 out of 5 stars

A thriller about a 17 year old southern woman's stand against the overwhelming odds of post-Civil-War racial hatred.

May 9, 2018

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This novel is a view into the post-Civil-War world of the southeastern U.S., specifically St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city. In 1875, a group of renegade Native Americans are brought to the city's old Spanish Fort from Oklahoma for cultural assimilation - to learn work skills, speak English, and to understand white culture. Based on true events, they are thrust into an environment of post-war violence and hatred that is the focal point for a power struggle between the town sheriff (a former Confederate general) and the people of the town who want to move on from the war. Emerging at the center of the conflict is a seventeen year old girl who, ignoring her own subjugated class, forms a triumvirate with one of her black students and a young warrior and begins a fight for the real freedom of former slaves, Native Americans and ultimately herself and her city. Filled with vivid descriptions and colorful characters, Putnam and Grutman have delivered a thrilling yarn that will keep you up late turning pages and leaving you wishing for a sequel!

One person found this helpful

Archie

4.0 out of 5 stars

Historical Fiction – Educational and Motivational!

April 18, 2019

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An historical fiction, well written with elements of historical figures, post civil war events, human feelings – anger, love, help, circumstances and reactions, society, racism, a bit of suspense and along with that a strong message of doing the right thing, regardless of price to be paid. The setting is post civil war when there are tensions in society and fear, in Florida and someone needs to rise up against the violence to help and maintain peace. The plot is well written, characters are believable and definitely a good read that is educational and motivational.

Anamaría Aguirre Chourio

5.0 out of 5 stars

What an interesting surprise!

August 19, 2019

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The history of the Civil War and everything that revolves around it, has always seemed fascinating and attractive despite not having extremely accurate knowledge of history.
I found this book particularly AWESOME because the characters are so well built and complement each other in a powerful and humane way that they kept fascinated from beginning to end.
The tension that is generated throughout the story makes Redfish Oak one of the most exciting books I have read in recent months.

Purple

5.0 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written post civil war novel

August 7, 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Set in the post civil war era, this novel captures the tensions of the time in an immersive, page turning way. Set in Florida, worlds collide when Native Americans are shipped to a town already struggling with post war racial issues. The characters are memorable, and the author is able to paint a picture with words that allows the reader to be carried away into the story. Well researched and unforgettable, this one is worth the read for anyone and everyone.

Adian V.

5.0 out of 5 stars

A must read!

September 10, 2018

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

After reading Redfish Oak twice, I want to visit St. Augustine. Check into a Spanish inn built in the late 1700s, walk the coquina paved streets, purchase fresh fruit from the local Minorcan vendors along the way and take a seaside stroll to ancient coastal Fort Marion.

Set in the time of Custer, Plain Indians arrive to the picturesque town of St. Augustine, adding even more color to the growing mosaic of Minorcans, inhabitants of "Little Africa," the social elite and the hidden (but emergent) Ku Klux Klan.

Teenage girls can find inspiration in the fearless heroine, who exhibits both the fierceness and vulnerability of Scarlett O'Hara. Young African American boys can learn from the growth out of Elijah Taylor's predatory predicament, with the help of the unlikely yet emboldening mentor, Dick. And young Native Americans can find courage and hope from the clever Kiowa Warrior who is eager to learn the intriguing ways of the new white settlers.


Truly a must read, especially for today's youth, during these still racially and class-divided times. -Adian Valdez

Eubaleana

5.0 out of 5 stars

As a resident of St Augustine it was a joy to read because it brought out echoes of the ...

February 18, 2018

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This is a penetrating novel about this town. As a resident of St Augustine it was a joy to read because it brought out echoes of the turmoil that has surrounded this place since it was founded in the 16th century. The novel is exciting and moves very fast but includes much historical background. A wonderful book. I couldn't put it down!

One person found this helpful

Orla Putnam

5.0 out of 5 stars

Familiar, yet impossible to predict

September 29, 2018

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I haven't read a good thriller in a long time, and this one was incredible. The setup and characters make it seem like a familiar piece of literature - if you loved To Kill A Mockingbird, you'll love Redfish Oak. Yet despite its classic settings, I could not for the life of me predict the outcome of this book. It did its job in both making me compare its dilemmas to those of the modern world and wonder "will things ever get better?", and then ease my worries with its youthful narrators and glimpse of hope. I couldn't put it down for at least the last 100 pages, I really love this book.

Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a great book and a wonderful gift to the people of ...

March 4, 2018

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This is a great book and a wonderful gift to the people of St. Augustine. It's an extremely informative historical novel, a wild and woolly Western (that takes place in Florida), a suspenseful murder mystery, and an inspiring Bildungsroman -- all rolled into one amazing story.

martin jacoby

5.0 out of 5 stars

Wonderful tale of old St. Augustine

March 9, 2019

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Good tale involving Historical figures of the time: Newspaper and Literary figures, Indians, Civil War soldiers, Freed Blacks and one special woman.

WSP

4.0 out of 5 stars

Four Stars

January 14, 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Great read! A real page turner of true and honest friends

Samfreene

5.0 out of 5 stars

A definite must read outstanding

March 12, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

In a world that is filled with class distinction, racism, hate and prejudice in St. Augustine, Florida ten years after the end of the Civil War, we meet the people of this town. So diverse in their thinking, their understanding and compassion for others, this town is about to receive a group of prisoners, namely Indians who are thought to be savages and yet with the aid of Captain Pratt, they might as he states be rehabilitated.
Within this diverse community there is a young girl, a teacher named Nan Carew who cherishes working with black students teaching them to read and write. When we meet her, she is trying to instruct them in understanding and compassion but somehow her words go unheeded. The students do not quite understand her message and yet she forges ahead with her goals.
There are many characters within this book that the reader will learn to admire and want more of as we meet several people to take on along with Nan, a young Native American warrior named Boy Hunting and a black boy who endears readers from the start. The culture of the town is graphically and vividly depicted, and the local politics and the corruption involved no different than in the present today.
Racism is front and center not just against Black and Indians but anyone that does not fit into the scheme or what the locals, namely the sheriff and his minions feel belong. The struggle after the Indian Wars and the Civil War are paramount and the actions by the settlers there when they Plains Indians arrive being placed in Fort Marion for imprisonment. Like any community where people they fear or have no knowledge of are about to become part of their lives, the people there are angry, resentful and you can feel it in the actions of so many and the words that are inflicted on innocent victims of prejudice. The war is over, but the stigma is still there, and the attitude of the Sheriff is frightening and his hidden secrets and past if they come up might change it all.
Black were not allowed 200 years before to walk down the streets of this town freely. Some were soldiers in the army and lived in Mose which was the first free black settlement . Indians that were Christianized lived freely there too. But, things change when there is a death of a young teacher and a black man is arrested because he was watching the body and making sure that his son reported it to Sheriff Woods and we know that because he is black and the Sheriff is so racist he is being discriminated against but he’s not alone in his quest for freedom. Intolerance, hate, prejudice, racism are paramount but when you get to know Nan, and her father Lance you will see what happens when she becomes the champion of so many and hopes to lead the change understanding and tolerance and peace with her Indian friend and the son of Jimbo the man arrested for murder, Nan forges ahead in more ways than one.
Although considered an historical fiction novel, it seems as if it really happened and is rea. With the arrive of the Indians, the outrage of the people living there and the murder of a young teacher, things get out of hand as Jimbo suffers at the hand of a Sheriff who thinks he’s above the law. The young white woman is found in the part of town called Little Africa and the Sheriff thinks that Jimbo is guilty and that he might escape. But, this Is not the end of the murders and Nan becomes the catalyst to make her voice heard, as she befriends a young Indian artist, wants him to work and create his art and sell it in this company which creates a stir in the town that you can hear as long as a sonic boom.
The world described at times is no different than places in the world today as they remind us of the hardships faced by the African American community and population, the Indians and women who were never given the right to voice their opinions and be heard. Plus, we learn that Sheriff Woods, Captain Gibson and several others are behind the establishment of the KKK. Living in this town we learn of the hardships faced by the Indians and how they worked hard, created this art and wanted their freedom.
Listening to Hunting and the Lije talk you can feel the tension in the air among the Indians and the white men at times and we learn that Lije and his friend Dick have a plan that could take them both down. But Nan is astute and realizes that something is in the wind but what will she do to stop it and how?
When Nan and her father approach the Woods with evidence that Jimbo did not shoot Abigail, he discounts it.
Ms. Mathers who hired the young teachers is staying to watch the Russell children and the house is torched but the Indians and some of the Black slaves help to put it out showing that teamwork and understanding can help cross race barriers.
The authors share the history behind Ms. Mathers, her life, her goals and why she is so loyal to the people of St. Augustine and why she wants to help teach the Black children to read and write. Being prejudice and judging people like so many in this novel do is the wrong way to live and prejudging them because of race and color does not give you the opportunities to get to know other people and share their values, traditions and customs.
Things take on a deadly turn when Jimbo is helped to escape from jail, his son and his friend Dick are behind it, but the Sheriff is relentless and forms vigilantes to find him, stating that he will close the market if no one slips names under the door of the jail. While Nan and her father meet with Patrick Ansley who wants to fund Jimbo’s defense and help with more for the Indians, who wants him out of the way? Then another death occurs, and it seems that everyone associated with Nan who only wants to help the Indians and save Jimbo meet a fatal death.
Lives are at stake. Betrayals and deceptions are on the forefront as someone Nan trusted betrays her in the most horrific way as someone else close to her meets his maker in a gruesome fashion.
The authors take reader into the mind of a Sheriff so power hungry, so hateful that he turns so many against those that just want to live their lives and survive. Lije is no longer working as a courier and remembering what his friend taught him going to educate himself to rise above.
Carter Greene and Nan seem to have a relationship even if it’s on paper as they share their feelings, what is happening in St. Augustine and then she learns more about Ms. Weldon and Mrs. Gibson overhearing their conversation that sets Nan in a different direction away from them both.
The letters are quite telling and their feelings for each other expressed and the hope that Greene will return to St. Augustine keeps Nan hopeful and centered. But the death toll piles up, the fear in the town rises and the thought of who might be next is frightening. Although an historical novel, the history and research are quite extensive about this period and the hardships so many faced, the atrocities inflicted on the black community and the Indians is horrific.
The authors created letters that enlighten readers about the Black Kettle Indians, their assurances that they would be safe and yet massacres occurred. The scenes are so realistic you would feel as if you were experiencing them first hand in the present. Nan and Green’s correspondences bring to light the truth behind the murders, the atrocities inflicted on the Indians, the fact that the Blacks were enslaved to get turpentine from trees, and it was lethal and those in charge like Woods did not care.
Matthew Haley is a private in the army and is smitten with Nan thinking he can win her over. But, getting to know him the reader and Nan learn his dark secrets too. With Hunting, Lije and Nan determined to right every wrong and deal with those that created harm to others, plus hoping to free Jimbo the lessons learned in this novel are numerous and the hope that class distinctions even today will somehow be erased.
Authors George Putnam and Jewel Grutman researched this time period and graphically, geographically and historically recreate a time when the Ku Klux Klan lived their lives terrifying freed blacks and whites too. When the Plains Indians spent time in Florida and hoped to eventually be greed. When loyalties and friendships were tested and the final attacks and murders were revealed and the Sheriff behind it who was really General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave dealer and slave dealers and murderer of black soldiers who founded the Klan, Colonel Gibson who was guilty of other atrocities and a courtroom scene that will keep you spellbound until the final verdict and outcome for Jimbo is revealed.
An alliance was formed between Hunting, Nan and Lije that might never be the same yet never be broken as the ending will keep you wondering what is next for them and will their lives be filled with friendship, filled with more race and color demarcations? A pack that was made and three friends that will never falter each other as they made their way to the one place of safety for all: REDFISH OAK and that fabulous tree.

M. Hoffman

5.0 out of 5 stars

Three Unlikely Friends During Difficult Times

August 23, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

This is a wonderful historical novel, suitable for young adults and adults. It helps paint a picture of a time that many young people today can barely fathom. In order to create a brighter future where people are not judged for their ethnicity and race, it's very important that we not forget the past--and this book is a way to help people remember.

A young white girl, a black boy, and a native boy form an unlikely friendship. This book does a great job at showing just how such a friendship can help change a community (and the world), and also just how much those who make friendships like this are putting on the line.

It's a courageous story of bravery and sacrifice in a historical setting that adds a great deal of tension and weight to the narrative. I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys coming of age tales, historical novels, and novels about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

 

Francis B. Randall

5.0 out of 5 stars

All three races have suffered terribly, and only some among them have learned from ...

February 17, 2018

Format: Paperback

"Redfish Oak" by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman is a splendid, thoughtful, page-turning, Southern Gothic thriller of an historical novel. It has a sense of place -- St.Augustine, Florida, our oldest city, amid its ominous live oak forests. It has a sense of time -- 1875--76, at the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction, with the Ku Klux Klan resurgent to terrify newly freed blacks and moderate whites alike. And it was the time when a train full of captured Plains Indians was settled in the old Spanish fort, to turn a two race conflict into three. At the same time, St. Augustine was becoming the first Florida winter resort for freezing Northerners. The atmosphere is menacing from the start, in its houses and in the forests, and indeed the attacks and murders come, in ones and twos. All three races have suffered terribly, and only some among them have learned from it. The often agonized Good Guys, an eighteen year old white girl, a younger black boy and a slightly older Indian artist, must at last do terrible things to fight raging Evil. The Bad Guys are even more dramatic -- above all, the spider at the center of the web of violence, the Sheriff of the county, who, under a pseudonym, was the real and formidable General Nathan Bedford Forrest, slave dealer, brilliant Confederate cavalry general, mass-murderer of black Union soldiers, founder and leader of the Ku Klux Klan, now entrenched in grim St.Augustine -- able, clever, articulate, adaptable after setbacks, murderous, magnificently EEEEvil, but fortunately not infallible. A splendid read!

 

Baxter

5.0 out of 5 stars

St. Augustine after the Civil War

May 22, 2018

Format: Paperback

Redfish Oak, written by George Putnam and Jewel Grutman, is a splendid novel set in nineteenth-century St. Augustine. It is entertaining, well-written and a pleasure to read. Historically based, Redfish Oak reveals the old city as it existed a hundred and fifty years ago. Accompanying the story, readers will find descriptions of the town, mentions of its architecture, memorable buildings, streets and well-known sites still extant as well as the many ethnic people who resided here. St. Augustine's culture, socio-economic structure and local politics at the time are also revealed along with the narrative. Though the book is a so-called Young readers novel, it will appeal to older adults as well as teenagers, that is, if the teenagers are willing to put down their i-phones long enough to read it.

The story takes place at the end of the Reconstruction Era and emphasizes the city's struggle with racism following the Civil War as well as the nineteenth-century Indian Wars, The arrival of captive Plains Indians sent to Fort Marion for imprisonment inflames the community and adds to the intense bitterness still evident in the South following the War, Emancipation and the detested Reconstruction Acts. What follows is a captivating tale of the conflict between the forces of the old and new South and the involvement of three youngsters in the struggle. Though the story is set in St. Augustine, Florida, in reality, the struggle, of course, existed at the time in much of the United States and continued into the next century. Redfish Oak therefore succeeds as a sound historical novel as well as a touching human story.

JoanS

5.0 out of 5 stars

Great Read!

December 10, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

This historical novel tells a story that unfolds when a murder disrupts the resort town of St. Augustine, setting off a chain of events that will draw you in immediately. It creatively portrays the racial tension and culture clash following the Civil War, where American Indians, Blacks and Whites seek to coexist, and which brings about an unlikely alliance of three young friends who secretly join forces to fight the atrocities. It is a vivid rendering of the brutality, both physical and psychological, of man's inhumanity to man... but also has empathetic characters who abhor the social injustice and intolerance inflicted by the evil sheriff, his cronies, and the Klan.

This book is so much more than just a good story weaving it's way through the post Civil and Indian Wars time period. It is historically fascinating.The detailed research is obvious. It depicts the plight of Indian prisoners who had been taken from their homelands and families, and "freed" slaves who weren't really free at all. It shows the efforts made by women teachers to teach the Indians English so they would assimilate into the white man's world. The Kiowa showed their stories and who they were through art and drawing, and the townspeople were curious and definitely drawn to them.

Redfish Oak brought out a number of emotions as I read it. It was maddening how man could treat his fellow man, which still resonates in today's world. But then I'd be uplifted by the goodness. The skillfully written dialogue and dialects of the day made the story even richer, as I was completely immersed into that time and place. It was like watching a movie. This is great storytelling. It has the history, good guys, bad guys, murder and mayhem, secrets and of course, a love story. I highly recommend it!

Laura L. Darnell

4.0 out of 5 stars

the editing was good. The story was interesting but there were some ...

December 18, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

There were a few typos, but in general, the editing was good. The story was interesting but there were some things that took place that I don't think would have happened in those days. For these reasons I gave the book 4 stars. It was a good read, though.

McBride

5.0 out of 5 stars

I felt like I was engaged in a cross between CSI and ...

February 2, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition

Redfish Oak was a refreshing novel amid so many choices of fiction and mystery available today. I felt like I was engaged in a cross between CSI and Gone with the Wind.
The character descriptions, political relevance and historical settings both take you back in time travel as well as leave you feeling like you’re watching the news from last week.
Suspenseful, riveting, and dramatic story lines throughout. Great book!

nvbrnidgrl

5.0 out of 5 stars

Great story! Must read!

April 6, 2019

Format: Paperback

I just finished this book. My mom gave it to me to read and I just loved it! It was hard to put down. I would love to go to St. Augustine to see the historical sights.

 

Robert Stewart

5.0 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

March 22, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition

I enjoyed this story. .. a different twist on characters, events and social awareness.

Diana

5.0 out of 5 stars

Redfish oak is an engaging historical fiction full of thrilling ...

March 17, 2018

Format: Paperback

Redfish oak is an engaging historical fiction full of thrilling suspense. I did not want to put this book down!

Joex000

5.0 out of 5 stars

always a good read from george putnam

November 15, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I like this period of American History and this book is accurate and does it justice! Always a good read from George Putnam. Please do another like this soon!

PB

5.0 out of 5 stars

Five Stars

July 8, 2018

Format: Paperback

Excellent read. Fast reading with great historical understanding of the time and region.

jackrose

5.0 out of 5 stars

Five Stars

May 21, 2018

Format: Paperback

Great characters...good story...amazing research

jonathonb

5.0 out of 5 stars

Redfish Oak is a ripping good yarn. Historical fiction that is well researched

November 29, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Redfish Oak is a ripping good yarn. Historical fiction that is well researched, very readable, and action packed. The entertaining story grapples with issues that will resonate with readers today. Adults and young adults will find this book enjoyable.

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