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The Land


The Land Cover

ISBN13: 9780803719507
ISBN10: 0803719507
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Chapter One

I loved my daddy. I loved my brothers too. But in the end it was Mitchell Thomas and I who were most like brothers, with a bond that couldn't be broken. The two of us came into Mississippi together by way of East Texas, and that was when we were still boys, long after we had come to our understanding of each other. Seeing that we were a long way from our Georgia home and both of us being strangers here in Mississippi, the two of us depended on each other and became as family. But it wasn't always that way.

In the beginning the two of us didn't get along at all. Fact to business, there was a time it seemed like to me Mitchell Thomas lived just to taunt me. There were other boys too who picked on me, but Mitchell was the worst. I recall one time in particular when I was about nine or so and I was reading beside a creek on my daddy's land, and Mitchell came up from behind me and just whopped me on the head. For no reason. Just whopped me on the head! Course I jumped up mad. "What ya do that for?" I cried.

"Felt like it," he said. That's all; he felt like it. "Ya wanna do somethin' 'bout it?"

But I said nothing. Sure, I wanted to do something about it, all right, but I was no fool. Besides the fact I was a small-built boy, Mitchell was a year and some months older than me, a big boy too, stronger than most boys his age, and he could've broken me in two if he'd had the mind. Mitchell stared at me and I stared at him, then he turned and walked away. He didn't laugh, he didn't gloat; he just walked away, but I knew he'd be back.

And he was. Time and time again.

At first I just tried to stay out of Mitchell's way, but that didn't solve the problem. So I went to my sister, Cassie, about Mitchell. Now, my sister was a beautiful girl and I knew even Mitchell had eyes for her. But Cassie was not only beautiful, she was tough, smart, and just a bit cocky. She was six years older than I was and pretty much like a mother hen when it came to me; I knew she'd take my part. "Cassie, you know 'bout Mitchell?" I asked her.

"Course I know about Mitchell," she answered. "Why're you letting him beat up on you?"

"I'm not letting him!" I exclaimed in outrage. "You thinking I'm liking him beating up on me?"

"Well, if you're not, you'd better make him stop."

"Well, I'm trying."

"Well, you'd better try harder."

"I've tried fighting back, but he's too strong. Thing is, I don't know how to stop him."

"You'd better figure a way," she said matter-of-factly, then looked me in the eyes. "You want me to talk to him?"

I didn't even need to think on that. "Naw, course not! You did, then they'd all be saying I had my sister fighting my battles!"

Cassie shrugged. "Then you'd better figure something out quick."

Well, I didn't figure anything out quick enough before Mitchell whalloped me again. And again. Finally things got so bad, I told my daddy about Mitchell and about how he and other boys too were always picking on me. Now, the thing was, Mitchell and his family and the other boys lived on my daddy's land, and I figured my daddy with one word could put a stop to Mitchell and the rest. But my daddy said, "What you expect me to do about it?"

"I don't know," I replied, even though I knew exactly what I wanted him to do about it.

"You expect me to stop this boy Mitchell and the others from messing with you?"

I didn't say anything.

"You want it stopped, Paul," he said, "then you stop it. This here is between you and Mitchell and whatever other boys. I'm not getting into it."

My daddy was true to his word too. More than one time he saw me with a busted lip or a bruised eye, but he showed me no sympathy. He just looked at me and said, "See you didn't stop it yet." After a while, though, he said, "Paul, you don't stop this soon, those boys are going to kill you."

"Well, they're bigger and stronger'n me!" I protested.

"Then you use what you strongest at, boy! You use your head. Now take care of it."

I took care of it, all right. I enlisted the aid of my brothers, Hammond, George, and Robert. I figured Hammond and George could sure enough stop Mitchell. Course, they already knew of my troubles. They'd seen my busted lip and bruises too, but they had been away at school during most of the time Mitchell had been beating on me, and I hadn't been able to turn to them for my rescue. Robert, of course, had wanted to help me out, but there hadn't been much he could do. He was as small as I was. Now Hammond and George were back home and I figured to settle this thing.

"So what do you want us to do?" Hammond asked.

I was looking for complete and absolute revenge, and I figured Hammond at eighteen and George at sixteen could provide that for me. "Put the fear of God into 'em!" I declared.

Hammond smiled; so did George. Robert, though, nodded solemnly. "We can do that." Robert was nine, same age as me. Of my brothers, I was closest with Robert. I suppose, in part, being the same year's children made us close, but there were other things too. We had been together practically since birth, and we always took care of each other. When I got into trouble, Robert was there to pull me out of it if he could, or at least to see me through it, and I did the same for him. More than one time when one of us would be getting a licking from either my mama or our daddy, the other would jump in to try to stop it and we'd both get whipped. We shared everything together. Back then, Robert was always on my side. "They got no business beating on you," Robert said, expressing my sentiments exactly.

"That's what I figure too," I said.

"We'll take care of 'em tomorrow," Robert promised.

"Now wait a minute," said Hammond. "I don't know if that's such a good idea."

"What's not good about it?" I asked. "Mitchell and those other boys been beating on me for the longest time, so y'all go beat on them awhile and they'll stop."

Hammond was quiet a moment, then said, "Well, I don't know if that's quite fair."

"Sounds fair to me."

"Me too," said Robert.

"But George and I are older than Mitchell and those other boys, and we'd have the advantage," said Hammond.

"Well, that's the point of the thing!" I said.

Hammond shook his head. "'Sides that, they live here on our place, and if we get into it with them, it'll look like we're bullying them?"

"Well, they've been bullying me!"

George looked at me dead center. "You tell our daddy about this?" One thing I liked about my brother George was that he laid things right on the line; he said exactly what was on his mind. On the surface he was an easygoing sort of boy with a body that seemed to hang in a lazy fashion, such as always having one leg dangling over the arm of a chair when our daddy wasn't around. But the truth was, he had himself a fierce kind of temper when baited and a steely right hand to match. He had never used either against me. I always told him the truth. "I told him, all right," I replied in answer to his question.

"Well, what'd he say?"

I didn't speak right up.

"Well? I know he said something."

"He told me he wasn't getting into it. He told me to stop it, so that's what I'm trying to do."

George laughed. "Yeah, you trying to stop it, all right. You trying to get us to stop it for you."

"Same thing," said Robert. Those were my thoughts exactly.

"Look, Paul," said Hammond. "I'll have a talk with Mitchell, but I'm not going to go beating up on him for you. Understood?"

I looked at Hammond and nodded solemnly, but I was figuring the only thing Mitchell Thomas would ever understand was a good whipping.

That very next morning Robert and I, sitting behind Hammond and George on their bays, went over to the patch of ground Mitchell's family tended. Now, the Thomases, like all the other families who lived on my daddy's land, were sharecroppers, and because of that fact, they were obliged to take heed of whatever my daddy or my brothers said. Miz Thomas was sure enough taking heed right now.

"Edna," said Hammond as Mitchell's mother stood in her dark doorway, "where's Willie?" Willie Thomas was Mitchell's daddy. "He gone off already?'

"Yes, suh," answered Miz Thomas. "He in the fields."

"Well, doesn't matter. We come to see Mitchell. He with his daddy?"

"Mitchell?" questioned Miz Thomas. "Well, suh, he's out in them woods yonder choppin' wood for the fire."

Hammond nodded. "Whereabout?"

"North yonder... by the creek."

"All right," said Hammond. "We'll find him."

We turned to go, but then Miz Thomas said, "That Mitchell, he done somethin'? He in trouble?"

"We just want to talk to him, Edna," Hammond assured her. Still, though, as we rode away, I saw Miz Thomas frown, and young as I was, I knew she was worried. She was worried because my brothers had come. My brothers had come asking about Mitchell, and my brothers were white.

Copyright © 2OOl by Mildred D. Taylor

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chelsey710, January 3, 2008 (view all comments by chelsey710)
The first time that I read this book was going into 6th grade. I had chosen it as one of my summer reading books for school. Since then (I'm a sophomore now), I have read the book about 5 times, and can never put it down. The Land is so captivating and such an amazing story based on something so shameful and historical. I can't help but be engrossed by the words that Mildred Taylor puts down on these pages. The book is such an eye opener, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.
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Product Details

Taylor, Mildred D.
Ginsburg, Max
New York
Readers - Beginner
Ethnic - African American
Social Situations - Prejudice & Racism
Race relations
Southern states
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Historical
Racially mixed people
African Americans
Historical - United States - Civil War
Logan family
People & Places - United States - African-American
Social Issues - Prejudice & Racism
General Juvenile Fiction
Children s-General
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
September 2001
Grade Level:
from 7
9.26x6.34x1.35 in. 1.48 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Coretta Scott King Award Winners
Children's » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Prejudice and Racism

The Land Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.38 In Stock
Product details 392 pages Phyllis Fogelman Books - English 9780803719507 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[T]his powerful historical novel...refuses to 'whitewash' history....Through Paul's personal turmoil, Taylor dramatizes society's rigid racist divisions....Paul-Edward's granddaughter will be Cassie Logan, and readers who remember her from Roll of Thunder will grab this and be astonished by its powerful story."
"Review" by , "Taylor's gift for combining history and storytelling are as evident here as in her other stories about the Logan family....Although her depiction of the 19th-century South is anything but pretty, her tone is more uplifting than bitter....Even during the book's most wrenching scenes, the determination, wisdom and resiliency...will be strongly felt."
"Review" by , "Readers have come to expect Taylor to deliver a powerful story...and she continues to do so here....[T]his is an aspect of the legacy of slavery not often confronted in children's books; Paul-Edward makes the reader feel its grotesque injustices. They will root for him, as they have for his children and grandchildren, to overcome."
"Review" by , "[A] wonderful novel of close friendship, harsh prejudices, and deep yearning....This historical novel brings this period of American history to life."
"Review" by , "Written with great care, accuracy and emotion, The Land is a wonderful novel, telling a family story that will move and enrich its readers. Readers will come away with a deeper understanding of what life in the South was like for African-Americans struggling to make their way in a society grounded upon prejudice."
"Review" by , "[E]ngrossing and heartwarming....Taylor uses stories from her own family's past to create a fascinating and honest look at life's struggles and joys for many African American families after the Civil War. Although this book will be a welcome addition to many middle and junior high school libraries, the fascinating, free-flowing tale will be received warmly by readers of all ages."
"Review" by , "Taylor's writing has the power of a riveting story told well; and her understated, often matter-of-fact accounts of the dreadful injustices that Paul and Mitchell endure contribute to the strong impact the story has on readers."
"Synopsis" by , The legacy of the Logan family begins with Paul-Edward Logan, grandfather of Cassie, the beloved protagonist of Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Starting with his birth during the Civil War, this is the story of Logan's exciting, sometimes heartbreaking adventures and how his dream of owning land becomes a reality.
"Synopsis" by , The Land is a poignantly crafted story that chronicles the triumphs and struggles of life for Paul-Edward Logan, son of a white slave owner and an enslaved African-Indian woman. Set in Mississippi during the late 1800s, the book introduces readers to the grandfather of Cassie Logan, the impassioned hero of Taylor's 1977 Newbery Award winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

"Taylor offers an ingenious prequel to Roll of Thunder," said Coretta Scott King Award Committee Chair Fran Ware. "The Land unveils the precarious world of Paul-Edward Logan, a black boy who could pass for white and invites readers into his remarkable and painful journey to manhood. Taylor makes an exemplary contribution to chronicling the African-American experience with her finely developed characters and well-rounded storyline."

"Synopsis" by , After the Civil War Paul, the son of a white father and a black mother, finds himself caught between the two worlds of colored folks and white folks as he pursues his dream of owning land of his own.
"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award!

Millions of fans have followed the Logan family in their seven-book series. Living in the South in the not-so-distant past, the Logans are the only black family to own farmland, while most of their black neighbors are sharecroppers on white-owned land. But where did this valuable legacy come from?

The story begins with Paul-Edward Logan, grandfather of Cassie Logan, the beloved protagonist of Newbery Medal–winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Born during the Civil War, Paul-Edward is the son of a white plantation owner and a former slave. Though not an unusual heritage, his upbringing is. Paul-Edward’s white father sees to it that he and his sister have many of the privileges their white half-brothers enjoy. But at fourteen, Paul-Edward runs away to seek his fortune. His story is filled with exciting, sometimes heart-breaking adventures, and what is most amazing, his dream of land-ownership, almost impossible for a black person to accomplish in the post–Civil War South, becomes reality.

The Land, like all the books in this award-winning series, is based on the experiences of the Taylor family, bringing historical truth and power to this awe-inspiring story.

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