I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
A true saga of a Texas family from early frontier days to the 1990s portrayed by 3 excellent actors who really were their parts-this was a 'listen all day' kinda book. I'm glad I had a rainy sunday to spend lazing on the couch and totally getting into the stories that were related of 3 generations of the McCullough family...
Kudos especially to Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Shepherd for their interpretations of Eli, Jennie and Peter-I was really *there* listening to them...at Cherokee campsites, at the frustrations of a feminist who didn't know she was a feminist dealing with men who didn't take her seriously and at frustrated Peter who loved a woman forbidden by racial restrictions to him.
These narrators/actors wouldn't have been nearly as successful without the wonderful novel..one of those books MADE for audiobook...by Phillip Meyer. A true saga of a book that puts Edna Ferber's "Giant" to shame..made me see how 'Hollywood"Giant was.
***spoiler here***** My only disappointment - and it was truly because I wanted a 'happy-there-gotcha ending' was having the last Garcia child ride hell bent for leather back over the Rio Grande when I so wanted Jennie to accept him as a true son of the family. Well..guess I wanted a 'Hollwyood ' ending there and it didn't happen.****end spoiler***
Congratulations to all involver for a fantastic novel that kept this listener glued to the iPad.
" I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.
I read this book after reading a review from a person who I've trusted on a number of books & she has not left me down with any novels yet... This book is quite the historical fiction that is able to contain complex metaphors, multiple-generational-long end life crisis's a human might go thru. In this case its thru the eyes of a family that spans over a hundred years but starts with one, larger than life character... Eli McCullough, a man who was taken when he was a boy by one of the most ruthless group of Indians in history, the Comanches.
Eli lives thru this ordeal to become an accepted part of the tribe & I found myself wanting to hear more & more, by the end I could have listened to the whole book if it was just about Eli & his POV on his life with a smaller concentration of the other characters in the book although they were not uninteresting, the combination of Will Patton's narration, life trials he went thru in the hands of 'savages' & then the life trials he went thru once returning to 'civilized society,' & of course the authors style of writing containing the vivid descriptions, POV analysis from a man with this unique background, metaphoric & real life issues he conquers in his own way which then reach way beyond his mere life but into the lives of the other character POV's... Eli's timid, yet 'educated & civilized' son Peter who has trouble bridging the gap between him & his father or even understanding the gap that separates them & great-grand daughter Jeannie who doesn't have this father-son problem but a much larger gender bias in a time where the oil barrons of Texas were making they're marks in histrory.
The chapters go by & each one is a POV of one of the characters plus a surprise one near the end & u see what it meant to have a father or any number of other family members as the family name grows to represent the rugged, wild state of Texas & perhaps in a real cheesy analogy why no one 'messes with Texas' lol. I enjoyed this book because listening to the internal dialogue of a completely dominate alpha male, a 'boy' who is essentially the polar opposite of his father but is too 'weak willed' to show anyone around him he is the rightful heir or should be taken seriously, & finally a woman in a man's business that finds a way to continue & grow the family legacy bigger than ever until the climactic end where the entries of an old man, love-sick son, & slowly growing 'senile' matriarch show the inner workings of their minds to readers. This climatic end should not be revealed because everything leading up to it foreshadows much of what happens but it is up to the reader to be able to try & imagine what this life that at least I've only ever heard about, & in this case read about. With the narration & writing I would most def. put this piece up there with parts of the 'Lonesome Dove Series' & other Western novels.
Put on ur war paint & take a small look into the eye's of death from 3 different POV stemming from the same biological start because even Eli ends up giving a POV that seems like an entirely diff. person before & after his Native American experiences... Great book, just wish there was more 'Patton' & 'Eli' because it was at the least one of the more intriguing perspectives an American can try to imagine.
While people differ in their capability to fight, the fighting spirit of the south in the civil war much less Texans, make the behavior of the mom & older brother unrealistic. It reads more like a backward projection of contemporary values.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
“I could not shake the feeling I’d stepped over some line,” says a protagonist of The Son, “over which I would never return. But maybe I’d crossed it years earlier, or maybe it had never existed. There was nothing you could take that did not belong to some other person.”
To Philipp Meyer, the story of Texas is a story written in blood and conquest. Spanning a century and a half, the novel follows the lives of three central characters, each from a different generation of a family named McCullough. At the beginning is the dynasty's founder, Eli McCullough, who is kidnapped and brought into manhood by the Comanche Indians, then returns to a civilization he finds too stifling, where he joins the hardbitten Texas Rangers, then, finally, becomes a settled landowner. At our own end of history is his great-granddaughter, Jeanne Ann McCullough, a wealthy and proud oilwoman who, at the end of her life, contemplates all she stood for and the loss of her empire to descendents who will never fill her boots. In between them is Peter McCullough, a cattle baron tormented over his role in the slaughter of a landowning Mexican neighbor and his family by a vigilante mob during the troubles of the early 1900s, an act that nonetheless sows the seeds for his family's greater prominence.
For anyone who appreciates literary American West sagas, this one's a winner, combining the unsentimentality of Cormac McCarthy with the character-driven storytelling of Larry McMurty. We see a world where the old frontier myths, the ones about self-reliance, taming the land, establishing law and order, and so forth are true enough on the surface, but hide deeper, darker stories. The Comanches here are “godlike” in their mastery of the elements, and casual in their cruelty. From them, the new waves of conquerors of the land (the Spaniards, the Mexicans, the Anglos) take the lesson of force, finding increasingly civilized rationales for it, the scheming lawyers pushing the real frontiersmen further out. For Eli, the rawest character, violence is simply a fact of life. For Peter, more psychologically complex, it’s a source of inner torment, the knowledge that decency brings him little respect from those beneath him in the power structure of a growing empire. Men, he observes, *want* to be ruled. For Jeanne, her now-mythologized family and the prospect of its financial decline become a personal challenge to carve her way into new frontiers -- oil, politics, the media, the world of men -- while trying to evade the aloneness that seems to define the world she has chosen.
Meyer intersperses his three storylines, revealing both the way the choices of one generation shape the lives of the next, the same themes recurring in different forms in each. Sometimes, these recurrences are an obvious consequence of history, sometimes they’re a product of literary license, but both blur together into a resonant whole. Meyer’s choice of language can sometimes strain credulity, as when Eli describes conversations among Indians or frontiersmen in a way that seems packaged for modern ears, but the prose expertly blends the immediacy of the moment with the insights and oversights of future recollection. We see the subtle shiftings and sortings of truth into different histories, none of them entirely true.
It’s a bleak but enthralling novel, symbolic of the United States and its ascendency, with a hint in the last chapters of what may come next. Meyers captures the moral ambiguities of a country founded on theories of liberty and pursuit of happiness, but whose true celebration is of power and material success. I also came away feeling like I understood the mentality of Texans better. Eli’s strange story may be the most captivating, especially with Will Patton’s audiobook narration, but all flow together. 4.5 stars.
The story felt disjointed. The geography seemed off ( native Texan here) There were long drawn out sections of minimal interest and parts that felt rushed that could have been fleshed out for a more interesting read. Overall it left me feeling bummed and not really caring about the characters.
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
This is an epic tale of the rise of a great Texas oil family, and so much more. I was spellbound throughout the entire reading.
It begins with a simple Texas frontier family be5ing all but destroyed by Camanchies. Young Eli McCullough is kidnapped at around 12 and must work his way into the Camamanche family. His story is as riveting, brutal and inspiring as any I have encountered.
If this story is as accurate in historical detail as I suspect, it exposes the way of Native Americans and Mexicans as every bit as ruthless and devastating as the US Government. If you are expecting a story of triumph you will be disappointed on every side. It is the story of only the strong surviving.
This book also exposed how little I really know about the history of Texas and Mexico and the taming of the West. It does so in the best way possible, whetting my appetite to learn more about what is perhaps the most exciting story in US history, including the civil war.
Eli's life as a warrior is harsh, heroic and surprisingly funny.
And then there is his son, his father's and the book's great disappointment. For me he is the perfect example of today's American conscience. He recognizes evil, yet refuses to stand up to it. He despises ill gotten gains, yet refuses to free himself from them. He wallows in self contempt.
And then there is a remarkable heroine, the grand daughter Jeanne. Like Eli, she finds herself abducted by a tribe of sorts, the only woman in a world run by men. And like her grandfather she fights her way through life.
Will Patton leads a strong crew of performers in a stellar performance.
Another easy 5 star experience.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
There are two different layers that are key to understand and appreciate this book .
First there is the individual story told by, a chapter at a time, three members of the McCulloughs family. They are Eli (the colonel) 1836 - 1936; his son Peter (born 1870); Peter's granddaughter Jeannie (born 1926). The second layer –and the very strong background to the individual narratives- is the big picture of Texas , its mindset , lifestyle , business and society. The book is ambitious and powerful in its language and striking by its atmosphere, but left me uninvolved and a bit disappointed.
The book is chopped up mercilessly into the three life stories of which only the first one (that deals with young Eli growing up as Indian captive and then –back to “civilization”(?)- ranching and building an empire) is very interesting and moving, particularly when describes the life in the Comanche village. The other two main characters are far less engaging: Peter is depressed, self-absorbed and unwilling to stand up to his father, while Jeannie is the kind of person incapable to generate any sort of empathy (readers included).
I guess the message of the book is everyone who has ever "owned" the land stole it from whoever has it last. This is ok, but did it need to take 18 hours –and little fun- to say it ?
This story was too large of a time period to enjoy. There were so many characters in the novel that it was hard to remember who was who and in what time span. He could have written a mini series and focused on one time period per book instead.
It is definitely a bleak novel in following the history of the three members of the McCullough family. I was definitely glad when the novel was over. A lot of people raved about this book, however, I can only give it an average rating.
I love the narrator, Will Patton, but wish Phillipp Meyer had written a better book for him to read.