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Soon to be a TV Series on AMC starring Pierce Brosnan and co-written by Philipp Meyer.

Now in paperback, the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling epic, a saga of land, blood, and power that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century.

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching examination of the bloody price of power, The Son is a gripping and utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American west with rare emotional acuity, even as it presents an intimate portrait of one family across two centuries.

Eli McCullough is just twelve-years-old when a marauding band of Comanche storm his Texas homestead and brutally murder his mother and sister, taking him as a captive. Despite their torture and cruelty, Eli--against all odds--adapts to life with the Comanche, learning their ways, their language, taking on a new name, finding a place as the adopted son of the chief of the band, and fighting their wars against not only other Indians, but white men, too-complicating his sense of loyalty, his promised vengeance, and his very understanding of self. But when disease, starvation, and westward expansion finally decimate the Comanche, Eli is left alone in a world in which he belongs nowhere, neither white nor Indian, civilized or fully wild.

Deftly interweaving Eli’s story with those of his son, Peter, and his great-granddaughter, JA, The Son deftly explores the legacy of Eli’s ruthlessness, his drive to power, and his life-long status as an outsider, even as the McCullough family rises to become one of the richest in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege.

Harrowing, panoramic, and deeply evocative, The Son is a fully realized masterwork in the greatest tradition of the American canon-an unforgettable novel that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.

Review

“With its vast scope, The Son makes a viable claim to be a Great American Novel of the sort John Dos Passos and Frank Norris once produced... an extraordinary orchestration of American history. -- Washington Post

“There is an extravagant quantity of birth, death and bitter passion in Philipp Meyer’s grand and engrossing Texas saga.” -- Wall Street Journal

“Philipp Meyer offers a tale that spans generations and, in its own way, encapsulates the history of the state itself.” -- Los Angeles Times

“As bold, ambitious and brutal as its subject: the rise of Texas as seen through the tortured history of one family. At 561 pages, The Son is a demanding read... But by the end, Meyer ties it together and not too neatly. Tougher-than-tough Eli McCullough would respect that.” -- USA Today (4 Stars)

“One of the most solid, unsparing pieces of American historical fiction to come out this century... a brilliant chronicle of Texas... stunning, raw and epic... The Son is vast, brave and, finally, unstoppable.” -- NPR

“This is the book you want to read this summer... Every facet of Meyer’s world--scent and sight and sensation--has weight and heft... Meyer’s dream is a nightmare in which blood seeks power. It’s also un-put-down-able.” -- Esquire

“A novel that is an epic in the truest sense of the word: massive in scope, replete with transformations in fortune and fate, and drenched in the blood of war.” -- Huffington Post

“The stuff of Great American Literature. Like all destined classics, Meyer’s second novel speaks volumes about humanity--our insatiable greed, our inherent frailty, the endless cycle of conquer or be conquered.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Treading on similar ground to James Michener, Larry McMurtry, and Cormac McCarthy, Meyer brings the bloody, racially fraught history of Texas to life. Call it a family saga or an epic, this novel is a violent and harrowing read.” -- Library Journal

“An old-fashioned family saga set against the birth of Texas and the modern West, this is a riveting slow burn of love, power, and a legacy of violence spanning generations. Meyer is a writer of vast ambition and talent, and he has created nothing less than an American epic.” -- Parade

“The greatest things about The Son are its scope and ambition. . . It’s an enveloping, extremely well-wrought, popular novel with passionate convictions about the people, places and battles that it conjures.” -- New York Times

“The author of The Yellow Birdssays Philipp Meyer’s novel The Son has ‘as much to say about what it means to be American as any book I’ve ever read.’” -- New York Times Book Review, By the Book interview with Kevin Powers

“By the novel’s end, Philipp Meyer has demonstrated that he can write a potboiler of the first rank, aswirl with pulpy pleasures: impossible love affairs, illicit sex, strife between fathers and sons, the unhappiness of the rich, the corruption of power.” -- New York Times Book Review

“Sweeping, absorbing epic. . .An expertly written tale of ancient crimes, with every period detail--and every detail, period--just right.” -- Kirkus Reviews  (starred review)

“Meyer’s massive Texas saga is perhaps the best Indian captive story ever written. . . [Meyer’s] tale is best compared to Giant. Little Big Man and Lonesome Dove also come to mind...” -- Booklist (starred review)

“One of those books that remind you how totally absorbing a novel can be... the work of an uncommonly visionary and skillful writer with a superb sense of pacing... a beautiful, violent and frequently heartbreaking book, but it is not without a sense of fun.” -- Washington Independent Review of Books

“A vivid, unflinching look at the peoples who struggled to conquer Texas, and one another. . . an aerial view of Texas, in which hidden elements of a huge, breathtaking landscape are suddenly made clear.” -- Austin Chronicle

“One word--stunning. The Son stands fair to hold its own in the canon of Great American Novels. A book that for once really does deserve to be called a masterpiece.” -- Kate Atkinson

“Meyer is an impressive and multi-talented story-teller in the old, good sense--the kind that makes me hang on for whatever the next chapter will hold.” -- Richard Ford

“A remarkable, beautifully crafted novel. Meyer tackles large movements of American history and culture yet also delivers page-turning delights of story and character.” -- Charles Frazier

Philipp Meyer redrafts humanity’s oldest questions and deepest obsessions into something so raw and dazzling and brutal and real, The Son should come with its own soundtrack -- Tea Obreht

“A true American epic, full of brutal poetry and breathtaking panoramas. Meyer’s characters repeatedly bear witness to the collision of human greed, savagery, and desire with the mute and indomitable Plains landscape. Meyer is a writer of tremendous talent, compassion and ambition.-- The Son is a staggering achievement.” -- Karen Russell

“Meyer’s tale is vast, volcanic, prodigious in violence, intermittently hard to fathom, not infrequently hard to stomach, and difficult to ignore.” -- Boston Globe

“Ambitious readers who take their prose seriously should grab a copy of The Son, a stunning work of historical fiction by Philipp Meyer. Scores of critics are gushing over the book calling it epic, one of the best of the year, even an American classic.” -- CNN Online (Hot Reads for June)

“The story of our founding mythology; of the men and women who tore a country from the wilderness and the price paid in blood by subsequent generations. An epic in the tradition of Faulkner and Melville, this is the work of a writer at the height of his power.” -- Kevin Powers

“An epic, heroic, hallucinatory work of art in which wry modern tropes and savage Western lore hunt together on an endless prairie... a horribly tragic, disturbingly comic and fiercely passionate masterpiece of storytelling.” -- Chris Cleave

The Son is positioned to seduce readers who swooned for Lonesome Dove and 2011’s briskly selling Comanche history, Empire of the Summer Moon. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

“It may not be the Great American Novel, but it certainly is a damn good one.” -- Entertainment Weekly (Grade A Review)

“Philipp Meyer’s epic novel begins in 1849, when Eli McCullough, 13, is kidnapped by Comanches, and ends in 2012 as Eli’s rich and powerful great-granddaughter is dying. USA TODAY says **** out of four.” -- USA Today

“In gorgeously gritty prose, this epic novel follows three generations of the McCullough family - as wild as the untamed Texas frontier where they’ve settled - in their ruthless quest for power. (Ten Titles To Pick Up Now)” -- O, the Oprah Magazine

The Son is adeptly written, rife with conflict, and richly built on scads of historical detail. Meyer is unflinching in his portrayal of violence and its role in America’s bedrock.” -- Austin American-Statesman

“One of the best books I’ve ever read . . . Incredibly ambitious and rich, and it reminds me of Blood Meridian and As I Lay Dying. Faulkner and McCarthy fans should definitely check it out.” -- Dallas Observer

The Son drives home one hard and fascinating truth about American life: None of us belong here. We just have it on loan until the next civilization comes around.” -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Mr. Meyer’s version of how a white child grows into the culture of a Comanche warrior is so vivid, violent, heartless and tender at the same time that I often put the book down to recover from the scenes, then picked it up, eager to follow the narrative.” -- Pittsburg Post-Gazette

“Meyer has penned another masterpiece of American fiction. Read it and see if you don’t agree.” -- Dayton Daily News

The Son is a true American original. Meyer describes the Comanche as ‘riding to haul hell out of its shuck.’ It’s an apt description of how it feels to read this exciting, far-reaching book.” -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“. . . a raw and gritty novel not for the faint-hearted.” -- Eagle (Bryan-College Station, Texas)

“. . . Involving and moving novel. Meyer’s work deserves its place among the great epics of Texas; even more, his vision of the state will change the way readers understand and judge its history and its folklore.” -- Chapter 16

“. . . Meyer’s brilliant second novel . . . The writing is strong - ‘riders were suddening out of the trees’ - and rich with detail. . . Just like Meyer’s riveting 2009 debut American Rust, this is a wonderful novel.” -- Financial Times

This is an endlessly absorbing book, a page-turner with serious moral scope, both full of feeling and ruthlessly engineered, as great books are, to get us closer to the truth about ourselves. -- Men''s Journal

The Son clearly demonstrates how a well-written, thoroughly researched work of fiction illuminates the past. . . ‘No land was ever acquired honestly in the history of the earth,’ Eli maintains. An outstanding novelist has tilled this fertile ground.” -- Santa Fe New Mexican

“Critics have compared the writing to Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove or any of Cormac McCarthy’s novels. Anyone who likes a Western saga will find plenty to savor in this latest work from a distinguished spinner of Western yarns.” -- Examiner.com

“This is an endlessly absorbing book, a page-turner with serious moral scope, both full of feeling and ruthlessly engineered, as great books are, to get us closer to the truth about ourselves.” -- Men''s Journal

“An epic of the American Southwest, Meyer’s masterly second novel follows several generations of a Texas ranching and oil dynasty through the 19th and 20th centuries…” -- New York Times Book Review, Paperback Row

From the Back Cover

A Globe & Mail 100 Selection

Spring, 1849. Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a band of Comanche storms his Texas homestead and murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to Comanche life, carving out a place as the chief''s adopted son and waging war against their enemies, including white men—which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is. But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild, he must fashion a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong—a journey of adventure, tragedy, and grit that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

Intertwined with Eli''s story are those of his son, Peter, a man who bears the emotional cost of his father''s drive for power, and Eli''s great-granddaughter, Jeannie, a woman who must fight hardened rivals to succeed in a man''s world. Philipp Meyer deftly explores how Eli''s ruthlessness and steely pragmatism transform subsequent generations of McCulloughs. Love, honor, and even children are sacrificed in the name of ambition, as the family becomes one of the richest powers in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege. Yet, like all empires, the McCulloughs must eventually face the consequences of their choices.

Harrowing, panoramic, and vividly drawn, The Son is a masterful achievement from a sublime young talent.

About the Author

Philipp Meyer is the author of the critically lauded novel American Rust, winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was an Economist Book of the Year, a Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year, and a New York Times Notable Book. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James Michener Fellow. A native of Baltimore, he now lives mostly in Texas.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
3,419 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Chicago Mermaid
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Son , is Fantastic!
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2017
I have watched the 2nd installment of the TV show The Son. I think the show is great and as I watched the credits, I saw it was based on a book. So, I bought it last night for my Kindle Paper White. Wow! I have been reading almost all night and most of today! This is a... See more
I have watched the 2nd installment of the TV show The Son. I think the show is great and as I watched the credits, I saw it was based on a book. So, I bought it last night for my Kindle Paper White. Wow! I have been reading almost all night and most of today! This is a fascinating book. The TV show showed the savagery of the killing of his family and kid napping. It was nothing compared to the book! I always read reviews. I saw a few that were "confused" that there are different people ,with their own chapters, that tell the reader 1st hand their thoughts. All you have to do is read the name and the time period at the head of each chapter! Also, someone stated that people in the Old West would never swear like what is in the book. Read some of Shakespeare''s plays. He swore like a drunken sailor! I''m pretty sure people have cussed since the Beginning of time. I am planning on reading it tonight till I collapse. If you like Westerns, Indian Tales, Texas, and stories about families that will fascinate you, buy this book! This will be a book I read more then once....I bet most will agree with me.
115 people found this helpful
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ClayEE
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read This Novel
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2017
As a writer, I value narrative above all else. The dialogue still needs to be believable, as well as apt for the situation, but the overall narrative drives the story and can carry mediocre narrative along with it. In The Son, though, not only is the narrative as strong... See more
As a writer, I value narrative above all else. The dialogue still needs to be believable, as well as apt for the situation, but the overall narrative drives the story and can carry mediocre narrative along with it. In The Son, though, not only is the narrative as strong as I would love to have written myself, but so is the dialogue and character creation. In fact, since there are three distinct voices in this story spanning three generations of a Texas family, one a woman and two men, to have fleshed out all three characters this completely is the reason why this story has garnered so many awards.

True, I might be prejudiced since this story takes place in the general geography of where I grew up and live now--South Texas and the Hill Country--and my family has been here almost as long as these characters were. But, if your family story is from New York, or the Netherlands or Nepal, well, that won''t matter once you''ve found yourself wiping dust from your boots after a few chapters.
23 people found this helpful
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S. G. Weeks
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
for those who are reading this after seeing the new show based on it..
Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2017
Okay, I admit it, first off; I do love reading Westerns. When I saw AMC had created the show I wanted to know more about the book. So I bought the book. I read about one book a week so I can judge whether or not a book is an easy read. First what made this book and easy... See more
Okay, I admit it, first off; I do love reading Westerns. When I saw AMC had created the show I wanted to know more about the book. So I bought the book. I read about one book a week so I can judge whether or not a book is an easy read. First what made this book and easy read for me was knowing how the show had been produced. With switching back and forth between time periods. So...the book was the same format, so no mystery there. Telling the story from the different character standpoints, I liked. and because I already knew of the time switching it wasn''t confusing. HOWEVER, I do understand where the criticism comes from on the previous reviews, that if you did not know how the show was produced with the time period flash backs, reading the book would be a challenge, so actually that mystery was not part of the read.

As far as content and likability of the characters and stories; I like gritty westerns, not bonanza family entertainment westerns, I like knowing that life was hard, tough and unpleasant in order to make the story come alive. I read till the end and realized that the story ended up going full circle in the end and you became aware of why and how the main character turned out like he did.

My suggestion is if you want to read this book, understand it goes back and forth between time periods so it builds the case and builds your understanding why the characters are who they are and how they became what they are.... AND
***SPOILER***
that''s about it.....you will either enjoy or like the characters or dislike some of them, which is the point of a good read. Also if you are reading this after you started the AMC show, understand liberties were taken and generations of the characters have been changed, i.e. the Granddaughter in the Show is actually the Great Grand Daughter in the book and the Garcia ranch is destroyed and they are all killed in the beginning..in the show, nope, they are pretty much made out to be just neighbors with periodic conflicts. I know that this leaves room in the show for multiple seasons so the story doesn''t just wrap up in one season. So there ya go!
57 people found this helpful
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D. Eppenstein
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... book has been sitting on my bookshelf for the better part of a year and maybe more
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2018
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for the better part of a year and maybe more. I acquired it after reading the review of a GR friend, maybe Matt but I don''t recall so sorry about that. When the book arrived its length and subject chilled my interest so it sat.... See more
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for the better part of a year and maybe more. I acquired it after reading the review of a GR friend, maybe Matt but I don''t recall so sorry about that. When the book arrived its length and subject chilled my interest so it sat. Nevertheless, as the new year started I decided to swallow what I expected to be the bitter pill of a mistaken purchase. You see I was expecting something of a Michener-like saga that would be an ordeal to endure. I was wrong, I was very wrong. This is one of the best books I''ve ever read.

To begin with, last year I read "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles. That book dealt with the story of a young girl that had been kidnapped by Indians and was being returned to her people but the child was reluctant even hostile to being returned. She wanted to stay with her Indian captors. I found that phenomenon very interesting. The author suggested in her notes that if the reader wished to know more about this strange behavior she suggested reading "Captured" by Scott Zesch which I did. These books did introduce me to this strange and, to me, unknown behavior among white children adopted into the Indian culture of the 19th century western frontier. I mention this because one of the things I wasn''t expecting from "The Son" was that a good deal of the story involves such a kidnapping and adoption into an Indian tribe and a reluctance to return when the opportunity is presented to the kidnapped child. While this book is fictional the depiction of the kidnapping and subsequent treatment of the child are all too accurate not to be believed. Further, the depiction of daily life in a Comanche tribe, as far as I know from other reading I have done, is spot on as accurate as you can get. This facet of the book alone may spawn considerable discussion about the pros and cons of various forms of child rearing that, being childless, I will not risk getting into but there are some interesting lessons to be considered from reading this story.

Now as for the story and story really doesn''t quite seem an appropriate description for this book. Rather this book is a history, fictional though it may be, it is definitely a history. The history spans approximately 150+ plus years from the mid 19th century up to nearly the present date. It initially is about a family named McCullough and is told on three separate story lines. The first is about the family patriarch, Eli McCullough and his life on the Southwest Texas frontier. The second storyline concerns Eli''s son Peter and the last story is about Peter''s granddaughter Jeannie. To begin with let me lay aside my original fear that this book was going to be a dozer because of its length and subject. That never happened. Within the first 50 pages the book has you engaged completely and the engagement doesn''t quit inspite of the jumps between stories. What does happen is the reader is treated to witnessing an evolution among the specific characters, the character of the land and its use by these characters, and in the change in the local culture. Eli''s story spans the wild untamed West while Peter''s story introduces the beginnings of civilization and the conflict with the old ways of the West. Jeannie brings the family into the modern era and the problems of modernization and changing attitudes and mores. During this evolution the land is also subject to changes. At first it is wild and untamed and ruled by uncivilized and even barbaric Native Americans. The Indians are subdued in favor of agriculture which then gives way to cattle ranching which in turn gives way to oil. The book is epic in its scope but probably not in its story. The McCullough story is certainly gripping and compelling and a very worthwhile read. However, it is about a small corner of this country which has its own rather unique history so it can''t truly be understood to be telling THE story of America but just A story of America. Definitely a 5 star book. (less)
12 people found this helpful
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tillzen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Where the Texas of Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy Collides Brilliantly
Reviewed in the United States on December 2, 2016
Every so often, you start a book and immediately regret that it is going to end. I had not felt this enraptured by fiction since "The Prince of Tides" and as I read Philipp Meyer''s "The Son", I kept thinking how truly grateful I was to have lived long enough... See more
Every so often, you start a book and immediately regret that it is going to end. I had not felt this enraptured by fiction since "The Prince of Tides" and as I read Philipp Meyer''s "The Son", I kept thinking how truly grateful I was to have lived long enough to read such an exceptionally crafted work. Part family saga and part American history The Son briefly described in shorthand as "Lonesome Dove" (or any great Larry McMurtry yarn) as if co-written by Cormac McCarthy. It is simply a huge story suffused with such depth of language and human condition as to render the work consistantly startling. A truly great book.
22 people found this helpful
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Couch Warrior
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
History told with family saga! Be prepared for strong language and themes! History is harsh!
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2019
I read The Thornbirds in the ‘80s and I could make some connections—— family saga that spans generations, mother/daughter conflicts, money is readily available to this family (very wealthy), but each main character feels trapped in the heritage that has been built. The... See more
I read The Thornbirds in the ‘80s and I could make some connections—— family saga that spans generations, mother/daughter conflicts, money is readily available to this family (very wealthy), but each main character feels trapped in the heritage that has been built. The Thornbirds took place in Australia; this takes places in dry South Texas (I can relate as I am a Texan); TB has Catholicism, The Son has American Indians as a driving force, and one could argue that that is AS deeply rooted as TB’s Catholic influences. I found several connecting themes, mainly in the character of Jeanie and how women are seen/perceived in the society in which they live. Be aware that this novel time jumps—-I am so glad the author put a family tree in the first few pages. I kept referring to it, trying to keep the family straight. And the series on TV condenses the tree—-Jeanie is actually the great-granddaughter of Eli, not the granddaughter. Parts of the book are told as Jeanie is lying dying on the floor of the big ranch house. Each chapter jumps in time. Parts are told through Peter, (Eli’s son). Peter story is told through his journal around the time of WW I. And parts are told through Eli’s eyes (1850s-1860s) as he struggles with his family’s murders (Indian attack) and becoming an Indian himself, then re-emerging into the white world as the country teeters on the verge of Civil War. Throughout all, history and racism are combative —- other races are seen through Eli’s eyes and he is a product of the times. Be prepared for strong language and themes.
This book took me some time to get through it—-I would read a chapter at a time and then leave it (started May 3rd, finished July 27th). About half way through I was having trouble putting it down,though, and read the rest in about a week. So give it a chance, keep reading.
I was confused toward the end with Peter’s story, his love with Maria. I wish I had someone to discuss it with—-I thought his death was explained in Jeanie’s thoughts—-he died in a lightening storm out in the field (another connection to TB). I thought maybe his mind went and he imagined finding Maria again. I am still confused on his story.
And the 9 year old boy at the end (which is really the beginning—-Eli’s story). Did I miss something? Or is that just the circle of life, kill or be killed, kill and get revenge for killing?
This is a book that you think about for awhile, at least I did. It is one that could be studied and prodded over. I am in an English major so I like the dissection of characters, theme, plots, etc. Add history to it, TEXAS history, and I am in heaven. Just as a reference point, I think Lonesome Dove is one of the greatest books ever written, and this compares!
3 people found this helpful
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Jim Misko
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Good Read
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2017
I enjoyed this book. The reason for four stars is that the last 20 to 25% of the book went to "telling" instead of "showing" and that ticked me off. The man has an excellent command of the language and can draw great portraits of people for the reader to... See more
I enjoyed this book. The reason for four stars is that the last 20 to 25% of the book went to "telling" instead of "showing" and that ticked me off. The man has an excellent command of the language and can draw great portraits of people for the reader to engage with. But telling the reader for 100 pages leaves me cool to cold. I have no doubt this was the editing job, but not sure. It whirlwinded to the end and I felt cheated as I had to do it with the narrator instead of the characters. An up and coming author for sure.
12 people found this helpful
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Patti
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
brutal
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2020
I would classify this book as a western but more in the vein of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian than Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. For me, it lacks heart. Each chapter is devoted to one of three characters, all in the McCullough family but generations apart. Eli is... See more
I would classify this book as a western but more in the vein of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian than Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. For me, it lacks heart. Each chapter is devoted to one of three characters, all in the McCullough family but generations apart. Eli is the patriarch who lives 100 years, including three years with the Comanches. After a raiding party murders his mother and siblings, he becomes their captive. A young member of their band wisely advises him to be less passive, enabling Eli to progress from slave to apprentice, learning to launch arrows from horseback. His son Peter’s chapters are diary entries in which Peter describes his family’s vengeful assault on a Mexican neighbor’s home—an event which haunts Peter with guilt for the rest of his life. Peter is the conscience of the family, but the rest of the McCulloughs view him as a pariah. The third protagonist is Jeannie, Peter’s granddaughter, who transforms the family’s struggling cattle business into an oil empire. What stands out about this novel is the stark realism. The author does not pull any punches when describing “how the West was won.” That victory cost thousands of lives on all sides and decimated countless native American populations. If the thought of reading about scalping makes you squeamish, skip this book. However, my favorite passage in the novel is about a different aspect of human behavior that is still true today: “The poor man prefers to associate, in mind if not in body, with the rich and successful. He rarely allows himself to consider that his poverty and his neighbor’s riches are inextricably linked….” It’s baffling to me that people in poverty cozy up to rich people without grasping that those riches are often gained at poor people’s expense.
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Chris Hilton
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Near Perfect
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2017
I read this in 2014. It''s one of the few books I''ve really enjoyed (along with A Brief History of Seven Killings and Swing Time). I''m a fussy experienced reader and I feel there is so much hype about now. I''ve bought many books on the strength of rave reviews - and...See more
I read this in 2014. It''s one of the few books I''ve really enjoyed (along with A Brief History of Seven Killings and Swing Time). I''m a fussy experienced reader and I feel there is so much hype about now. I''ve bought many books on the strength of rave reviews - and regretted it. Some have been really terrible. Some books have been OK but they haven''t filled me with admiration. But this was of a high quality, really well-written, shocking in places and worth ten other books in recent bestseller lists. I was slightly disappointed with a weakish ending but it didn''t detract from the pleasure gained in reading the rest. What is the author doing now? I''ve been looking out for something new from him. Does anybody know?
12 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Superb but flawed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2018
It''s not Lonesome Dove, but it is an epic story of Texan history. Great story telling which at times, I found " unputdownable" , fortunately it was part of my holiday reading, so I devoured it in large lumps. The action was quite brutal at times but always readable and...See more
It''s not Lonesome Dove, but it is an epic story of Texan history. Great story telling which at times, I found " unputdownable" , fortunately it was part of my holiday reading, so I devoured it in large lumps. The action was quite brutal at times but always readable and never gratuitous. The flaw was that in telling the history from the viewpoint of 3 protagonists, the story suffered from one characters part being so much more interesting than the other two and at times my interest flagged when the story teller changed. But all in all, a very good read.
5 people found this helpful
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Luke Dennison
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2020
This is an epic story based around three main narrators within the same family spanning 100 years of so. It''s part family saga, part American history and part a mediation on greed. Overall, though I would say it''s a book about ownership, and moreover a book about taking...See more
This is an epic story based around three main narrators within the same family spanning 100 years of so. It''s part family saga, part American history and part a mediation on greed. Overall, though I would say it''s a book about ownership, and moreover a book about taking what is not yours and then trying to keep hold of it. Overall, i found this an entertaining read, with Eli''s narrative easily being the strongest of the three. Having said that the other 2 view points become more interesting thighs further the novel goes, however install found the superfluous to certain extent. although this book spans a long period and covers a few themes and was really entertaining, I did for the most part feel it was good but not great. I couldn''t help but compare this to Steinbeck and in particular East of Eden and too be honest this isn''t in the same class. personally I found all the 5 star reviews surprising and I am rounding this up from 3 and a half stars to 4.
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Dave
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Much Better Than the TV Series.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 2, 2017
Great book. I watched the hopeless TV series but became intrigued. Yes, the scriptwriters have, once again, sanitised the original script into a more readily digestible TV format. Changed everything around and altered the key events, also redefined many of the characters,...See more
Great book. I watched the hopeless TV series but became intrigued. Yes, the scriptwriters have, once again, sanitised the original script into a more readily digestible TV format. Changed everything around and altered the key events, also redefined many of the characters, etc. If I was the author Philip Meyer I would be very angry. However, the book is far more entertaining and makes much more sense. Especially the story involving the life of young McCullough growing up with the Comanche Indians''.
4 people found this helpful
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Michael McKenna
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Accurate enjoyable history of a disappearing frontier.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 28, 2019
I love a book heavy on accurate historical details which is also a page turner. This is such a book! I deleted one star because I regularly felt a bit lost about where or what the surviving matriarch was saying. Also, the use of modern idiom, or coarse language, by indians,...See more
I love a book heavy on accurate historical details which is also a page turner. This is such a book! I deleted one star because I regularly felt a bit lost about where or what the surviving matriarch was saying. Also, the use of modern idiom, or coarse language, by indians, while I understand the rationale, took away from an otherwise elegiac tale. And while it was indeed a page turner, a lot of the principal characters were a serious bunch of misery-guts!
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