Customer Reviews for

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

Average Rating 4
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2010

    The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

    In 1917 Chicago, the established black bourgeoisie don't mix with the new arrivals from the South. For Rachel, a lowly cook, the only way to nab her employer's son, the dashing Isaac DuPree, a former Buffalo Soldier with homesteading aspirations, is to relinquish to him her share of 160 acres from the Homestead Act. In the harsh environment of the Badlands, they have to cope with a variety of grippingly told hardships. The apparition of Mrs. Fills the Pipe, a Native-American remote neighbor, and the ensuing "tea-party" bring a note of humor and controversy, and still another viewpoint. Years later, when Rachel realizes that Isaac is ready to sacrifice their five surviving children's prospects to his yearnings for more land, she has to take the situation in her own hands.
    Throughout the novel, references to personalities Rachel looks up too, such as activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, help bring the reader back to that time and place. All in all, an original homesteading story, seen from a slightly different perspective.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Great book. Leaves you wanting more

    This was a really good book. You get the perspective of blacks living in the dakotas. My one complaint is that the ending left me longing for more. I want to know what happened to Rachel and her children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book

    Set in the Badlands of South Dakota, it shows the struggles of homesteaders and a touching story of a family, from the eyes of Rachel DuPree. It gave me a sense of what my great-grandparents may have faced when they staked their claim in SD.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more by this a

    I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more by this author. It read like it was true and brought about every emotion to the table for the characters, and helped me to see what it must have been like for families to survive one hundred years ago. You can't help but cheer Rachel on. Thank you for the ending I was hoping for. What a great movie this would make.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Really liked this book. The author brought me right into the har

    Really liked this book. The author brought me right into the harsh world of the Badlands, from rattling prairie grasses, coyotes howling like devils, and grit that couldn't be kept outside. Rachel, a cook at a Chicago boardinghouse, falls for the ambitious son of her employer and persuades him to marry her - a deal. She works hard on their Badlands homestead to prove herself to Isaac, all the while wondering whether she is just a good workhorse to him. Will his ambition finally break her?

    This is a study of personal and societal relationships, from lowly "too dark" Rachel and her "high class" black employer to whites and blacks on the frontier to Isaac and the neighboring Indians, but mostly the delicate dance between Rachel and Isaac. Throw in some history to boot: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, buffalo soldiers, St. Louis race riots. I was gunning for Rachel all the way to the end.

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  • Posted November 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The parched, barren landscape of the Badlands is a constant reminder of what was in this harrowing tale of black Pioneers in the early 20th century.

    Rachel¿s story is, without a doubt, a story of hardship, survival and courage. She is an amazingly strong woman and although her sense of loyalty is admirable, she is not naive. No, that is the one thing she most certainly is not. As the harshness of the environment continues to take its toll, Rachel ponders what it means to be a rancher¿s wife and what it will mean for her daughters down the line. Books like this one, take you outside of what you know and allow you to experience a different lifestyle from the comfort of your own home. To say that this book grabbed me from its opening pages and held on to me throughout, would be an understatement. It was a quick, riveting read and gave me a lots to think about. I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted November 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing, character-driven historical. Must read!

    Ann Weisgarber¿s debut novel has received many accolades, all well-deserved. Your heart will ache -- with love and despair, with wonder and disbelief, with hope and pride. The Personal History of Rachel Dupree tells of life in the South Dakota Badlands in the early 1900s, when the last parcels of land in the U.S. Homestead Act were divvied up -- land so barren, remote and harsh that few had the fortitude and stubbornness to tame it. Anyone could make a claim to 160 acres -- even a single woman or a Negro, and Rachel Reeves was both. She worked as a housekeeper in Chicago, fell in love with Buffalo Soldier Isaac Dupree and dreamed of a better life. Isaac didn¿t want a wife, but he did want more land. The two made a bargain -- each would stake a claim to 160 acres in South Dakota, they would marry and Isaac would own all 320 acres. Then Rachel would have one year to prove she was strong enough to be a rancher¿s wife, or she would be shipped back to Chicago. Fourteen years later, with five children and a baby on the way, in the midst of a brutal drought, Rachel must somehow muster even more strength to do right by her family in impossibly hard times. Weisgarber transports the reader to the harsh, lonely Badlands and sheds light on a little-known piece of American frontier history. Her description of events, emotions and landscape are vivid and haunting, beautiful and terrifying. I felt the grit in my skin and the ache in my belly. I wept the bittersweet tears of a mother¿s heartbreak. Rachel Dupree grabbed hold of my hand in the very first paragraph, and I could not let go until the final page was turned. In fact, a part of me is still holding on¿

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

    Highly recommended

    This was a great read. I would love to discuss this in a book club. I read this book in 2 days, it was such a page turner!! Rachel Dupree is a very determined woman making a life changing decision for her and her kids. I hope the author decides to write a sequel to this book. I would love to see the outcome of Rachel's courageous decision.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    A wonderful read!!

    I read this book after hearing the author being interviewed on NPR radio. Although I wonder why a white author chose to write about a black (or as noted in the book, Negro) woman living in the Dakota Badlands, I found the story to be very moving, full of thought and so touching. Rachel Dupree shows true grit in her realizations of being a land claim owner, wife, mother, ranch hand, dance partner to her daughter, and the only woman in vast, harsh and sometimes unforgiving land. I highly recommend this book.

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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    Posted March 14, 2011

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    Posted January 4, 2011

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    Posted September 22, 2010

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    Posted August 19, 2011

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    Posted April 2, 2012

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    Posted November 7, 2011

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    Posted March 28, 2011

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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    Posted June 8, 2011

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